H0W 1 FILMED
I, OEUT. GEOFFREY NS, O.B.E.
HOW I FILMED THE WAR
IVhcn I mas in Erance I ruade arrangements
with my friend Mr. Lo«» IVarren, al that lime tïditor
of the Kinematograph Weekly, to arrange
manuscript I scnt hbn for lOublication in book form.
The manuscriîM bas no uoay been altered
any malcrial resleCt , and is in lhe form in
I origqnally vroge il.
GtïOFFRE Y tt. MA LINS.
FII.MING TliE FRELIMIIqARY BO.MBARD.XlENT OF THE BIG PUSH, JULY IST,
1016. A FEW IINUTES AFTER THIS PltçTOGRAI'H WAS TAKEN A SHELL
IURST XVITHIN SIX YARDS S.XIASHING DOWN TI1E TRENCFI WALLS AND
HALF BURYING ME. NOTE TllE SANY)BAG ON A VIRE IN FRONT OF MY
'AMERA FOR 'CA.MçUI:LAGE »
HOW I FILMED
"" THE WAR'"
A RECORD OF THE EXTRAORDINARY
EXPERIENCES OF THE MAN WHO
FILMED THE GREAT SOMME BATTLES
LIEUT. GEOFFREY H. MALINS, O.B.E.
YORK STREET, ST.
A FEW WORDS OF INTRODUCTION
WITH THE BELGIANS AT RAM$CAPELLE
I Reach the First Line Belgian Tronches--And become a Belgian
Soldier for the Time Bcing--A Night Attack---An Advt'nture
whilst Filming a Mitrailleuse Outpost--Among the Ruins of
Ramscapellc--I Leave the Company and Losc my Way in the
Darkness--A Wclcomc Light and a Long Slecp--How Little
does the Public know of thc Dangers and Difhcultics a Film
Operator has to Face . 6
WlTH THE GOUMIERS AT LOMBARTZYDE
A Morning of Surprises--The German Positions Bombarded from
the Sea--Filming the Goumiers in Action--How these Tenacious
Fighters Prepare for Battle--Goumier Habits and Customs--I
Take the Chief's Photograph for the First Time--And After-
wards take Food with Him--An Interesting and Fruitful Adven-
ture Ends Satisfactorily t 5
THE BATTLE OF THE SAND-DUNES
A Dangerous Adventure and What Came of It--A Race Across
the Sand-dunes--And a Spill in a Shell-hole--The Fate of a
Spy--A Battle in the Dunes--Of whxch I Secured Some Fine
Films--A Collision with an Obstructive Mule aa
UNDER HEAVY SHELL-FIRE
In a Trench Coat and Cap I again Run the Gauntlet--A Near
Squeak--Looldng for Trouble--I Nearly Find It--A Rough
Ride and a Mud Bath--An Affair of Outposts--I Get Used to
Crawling--Hot Work at the Guns--I ara Reported Dead--But
Prove Very Much Alive--And then Receive a Shock--A
Stern Chase 3 °
AMONG THE SNOwS OF THE VOSGES
I Start for the Vosges--Am Arrested on the Swiss Frontier--And
Released--But Arrested Again--And then Allowed to Go My
Way--Filming in the Firing Zone--A Wonderful French Charge
Over the Snow-clad Hills--I Take Big Risks--And Get a
Magnificent Picture 4 °
vi HOW I FILMED THE WAR
PART I I
HOW i CAME TO MAKE OFF1C1AL WAR PICTURES
I ara Appointed an Official War Office Kinematographer--And Start
for thê Front Line Trênchês--Filming thê German Guns in
Action--With the Canadians--Picturesque I-lut Settlement
Among the Poplars--" I-Iyde 19ark Corner "--Shaving by
Candlclight in Six Inches of Water--Filming in Full View of the
German Lines, 75 yards away--A ]Big Risk. but a 1Realistic
CHR1STMAS DAV AT THE FRONT
Leave-taking at Charing Cros--A Fruitless Search for Food on
Christmas Eve--How Tommy XVelcomed the Coming of the
Festive Season--" Peace On Earth. Good "Vill To Men " to the
loom of the Big Guns--Filming the Guards" Division--And the
l'rince of Wales--Coming from a Christmas Service--This Year
and Iqext 6
I GET 1NTO A WARM CORNER
Boxing Day--]But No Pantomime--Life in the Trenches--A Sniper
at Work---Sinking a Mine Shaft--The Cheery Influence of an
Irish Padre--A Ccmetery I3ehind the Lines--Pathetic Inscrip-
tions and Mcmentoes on Dead I-Ieroes' Graves--I Get Into a
Pretty Warm Corner--And Have Some Difficulty in Getting Out
Again--]But All's Well that Ends Well .
THE BATTLEF1ELD OF NEUVE CHAPELLE
A Visit fo the Old German Trenches--Reveals a Scene of Horror
that Defies Description--Dodging the Shells--I Lose the Handle
of My Camera--And then Lose My Man--The Effect of Shell-fire
on a Novice--In the Village of Neuve Chapelle--A Scene of
Devastation--The Figure of the Lonely Christ
F1LM1NG THE PRINCE OF WALES
How I Made a" Hide-up "--And Secured a Fine Picture of the Prince
Inspecting some Gun-pits--I-Iis Anxiety to Avoid the Camera--
And His Subsequent Remarks--i.iow a German ]Block-house ,vas
Blown to Smithereens--And the Way I Managed to Film it
MV FIRST VlSIT TO YPRES AND ARRAS
Greeted on Al-rival in the Ruined City o: Ypres by a Furious Fusillade
--I Film the Cloth Hall and Cathedral, and Have a Narrow
Escape--A Once t3eautiful Tovn Now Little More Than a
Heap of Ruins--Arras a City of the Dead--Its Cathedal
Destroyed--But Cross and Crucifixes Unharmcd
THE BATTLE OF ST. ELOI
Filming Within Forty-five Yards of the German Trenches--Watch-
ing for " Minnies "--Offacers' Quarters--'" Somcthing " ]3egins
to Happen--An Early Morning Bombardmcnt--Dcvelops lnto
the Battle of St. Eloi--Vvhich I Film from Our First-Line
Trench---And Obtain a Fine Picture
A NIGHT ATTACK--AND A NARROW ESCAPE
A Very Lively Experience--Choosing a Position for the Camera
Under Fire--I Get a Taste of Gas--Witness a iNight Attack by
the Germmxs--Surprise an Officer by My Appcarance in the
Trencl..s--And Have One of the Narrowest Escapes---But
Fortunatcly Get Out with iNothing Worse than a Couple of
Bullcts Through My Cap
FOURTEEN THOUSAND FEET ABOVE THE GERMAN LINES
The First Kinematograph Film Taken of the Western Front--And
How I Took It Whilst Travelling Through the Air ai Eighty
Miles an Hour--Under Shell-fire--Over Ypres--A Thrilling
Experience--And a Narrow Escape--A Five Thousand Foot
Dire Through Space
FILMING THE KARTH FROM THE CLOUDS
Chasing an « Enemy " Acroplane af a Height of I3.5oo Feet--And
What Came of It--A Dramatic Adventure in which the Pilot
Played a Big Part--I Get a Nasty Shock--I3ut am Rcassured--
A Freezing Experience--Filming the Earth as we Dived Almost
Perpendicularly--A Picture that would Defy the Most Ardent
Futurist fo Paint
PREPARING FOR THE «EIG PUSH »
The Threshold of Tremendous Happenings--General --'s Speech
to His Men on the Eve of t3attle--Choosing My Position for
Filming the " t3ig Push "--Under Shell-fire--A Race of Shrieking
Devils--Fritz's Way of " Making Love "--I Visit the " White
City "--And On the Way have Anothcr Experience of Gas
viii HOW I FILMED THE WAR
FILMING UNDER F/RE
The General's Speech to the Fusiliers Before Going Into Action--
Filming the 5-inch HowitzersmA Miniature Earthquakem
" The Day " is Postponed--Keeping Within " The Limits "--A
Surprise Meeting in the Trenches--A Reminder of Other Days---
I Get Into a Tight Corner--And Have An Unpleasantly Hot
Experience--I Interview a Trench Mortar--Have a Lively
Quarter of an HourAnd Then Get Off 135
THE DAWN OF JULY FIRST
A Firework Display Heralds the Arrival ot " The Day "How the
Boys Spent Their Last Few Hours in the Trenches--Rats as
13edfcllows--I Make an Early Start--And Get Through a Mine-
shaft into " No Man's Land "The Great Event Draws Near--
Anxious Moments--The Men Fix Bayonets--And Wait the
Word of Command to" Go Over the Top " 15
THE DAY AND THE HOUR
A Mighty Convulsion Signalises the Commencement of Operations--
Thon Out Boys " Go Over the Top "--A Fine Film Obtained
whilst Shclls Raincd AroundMe--My Apparatus is Struck--But,
Thank Goodness. the Camcra is Saie--Arrival ot the Wounded--
" Ara I in the Picture ? " they ask 162
ROLL-CALL AFTER THE FIGHT
A Glorious Band of Wounded Heroes Stagger Into Line and Answer
the Call--I Visit a Stricken Friend in a Dug-out--On the Way
fo La Boisselle I Cet Lost in the Trenches--And *vVhilst Filming
Unexpectedly Corne Upon the German LineI Have a Narrow
Squeak of Being Crumped--But Get Away Safely--And Inter
Commandcer a Couple of German Prisoners to Act as Porters 69
EDITING A BATTLE FILM
The Process Described in DetailDeveloping the Negative--Its
Projection on thc Screen--CuttingoEitling--Joining--Printing
the Positive--Building Up the Story--lt is Submitted to the
Military Censors at General Headquarters--And After Being Cut
and Approved by Them--Is Ready for Public Exhibition . 17 8
THK HORRORS OF TRONES WOOD
Three Times I Try and Fail to Reach this Stronghold of the Dead--
Which Has Been Described as " Hell on Earth "--At a Dressing
Station under Fire--Smoking Two Cigarettes at a Time to Keep
off the Flies--Some Amusing Trench Conversations b¥ Men who
had Lost OEheir Way--I Turn in for the Night--And Have a
Dead Bosche for Company 8 3
IIILMING AT POZIÈRES AND CONTALMAISON
Looking for " Thrills "And How I Got Them--I Pass Through
" Sausage Valley," o the Way to PoziresYou lIay and you
Might--What a Tommy Found in a German Dug-outlIow
Fritz Got «' Some of His Own " Back--Taking Pictures in What
Was Once Pozières" Proois Ready To-morrow "
ALONG THIZ WESTERN FRONT WITH THIZ KING
His Maiesty's Arrival ai Boulogne--At G.H.Q.--General Burstall's
Appreciation--The King on the t3attlefield oI Fricourt--Within
Range oi the Enemy's Guns---His Maiesty's Joke Outside a
German Dug-out--His Memento trom a Hero's Grave--His
Visit to a Casualty Clearing Station---The King and the Puppy--
Once in Disgrace--lgow a Hospital Mascot
KING AND PRESIDENT MEET
An Historie Gathering--In which King and Presidcnt, Joflre and
Haig Take Part--His Majesty and the Little French Girl--I Am
Permitted to Film the King and His Distinguished Guests--A
Visit to the King of the Belgians---A Cross-Channel Journey--
THE HUSH] HUSH ]--A WEIRD AND FEARFUL CREATURE
Something in the Wind--An Urgent Message to Report at Head-
quartersAnd What Came OI It--I Hear tor the First Time
of the " Hush I Hush I "--And Try to Discover What It Is--
A WonderIul lXlight Scene--Dawn Breaks and Reveals a
Marvellous Monster--What Is It ?
THE JUGGERNAUT CAR OF BATTLE
A Weird-looking Object Makes Ifs First Appearance Upon the
Battlefield--And Surprises Us Almost as Much as It Surprised
Fritz--A Death-dealing Monster that Did the Most Marvellous
Things--And Left the Ground Strewn with Corpses--Realism
of the Tank Pictures
WHERE THE VILLAGE OF GUILLEMONT WAS
An AwIul Specimen ot War Devastation--Preparing tor an Advance
--Giving the Bosche " Jumps "--Breakfast Under Fire--My
Camera Fails Me Just Betore the Opening of the Attack--But I
Mariage fo Set it Right and Get Some Fine Pictures--Our Guns
" Talkï" Like the Crack of a Thousand Thunders--A Wonderful
x HOW I FILMED THE WAR
FIGHTING IN A SEA OF MUD
Inspecting a Tank that xvas Hors de Combat--All that was Left of
Mouquct Farm--A German Underground Fortress--A Trip in
the Bowels of the Earth--A Weird and Wonderful Experience .
THE EE OF GREAT EVENTS
A Choppy Cross-Channel TripI ]ndu]ge in a Revcrie--And Try to
Pecr Into the Future---Af Headq uartcrs Again--Trying to Cross
the Hiver Somme on an lmprovised Raft--In Peronne Airer the
German Evacuation--A Specimcn of Hunnish " Kultur '"
AN UNCANNY ADVENTURE,
Expioring the Unknown--A Silence That Couid be Felt--In the
Village of Villcrs-Carboncl--A Car and lts Kittcns in an Odd
Retrcat--Brooks' Penchant for " Souvenirs "The First Troops
to Cross the Somme 259
THE GERMANS IN RETREAT
The Enemy Destroy Everything as They Go--Clcaring Away the
Débris of the Battlcfield--And Repairing the Damage Done by
the Huns--An Eormous lVIine CraterA 1Reception by Frcnch
Peasants" Les Anglais ! Les Anglais "---Stuck on the 1Road
fo Bovincourt 266
THE STORY OF AN "ARMOURED CAR ABOUT WHICH
I COULD A TALE UNFOLD
Possibilities--Food for Famished Viilagers---Meeting the Mayoress
of Bovincourt--Who Presides at a Wonderiul Impromptu
Ceremony--A Scrap Outside VraignesA Church Full of
Refugees--A True Pal--A Mcal with the Mayor of Bierne
BEFORE ST. QUENTIN
The "Hindenburg" Line--A Diabolical Piece of Yandalism--
Brigadier H.Q. in a Cellar--A Fight in Mid-air--Xaiting for
the Taking of St. Quentin--L'Envoi
FILMING THE PRELIMINAR$ r BOMBARDMENT OF THE "BIG PUSH,"
JULY IST, I916 Fro,tispiers
TO FACE PAGK
"VITH A GROUF OF BELGIAN OFFICERS AT FURNES, BELGIUM, I914
ON SKIS IN THE VOSGES /OUNTAINS JUST BEFORE THE FRENCH
ATTACK, FEBRUARY AND ARCH, IQI 5 12
USING bIY AEROSCOPE IN BELGIUM. I914-15 22
How I CARRIED MY FILM IN THE EARLY ]-)AYS OF IHE WAR IN
BELGIUM AND THE VOSGES 3IouNTAINS 4 °
THE STATE OF THE TRENCHES IN WIIICH WE LIVED AND SLEPT(
FOR WEEKS ON END DURING THE EIRST AND SECOND WINTER
OF WAR 52
OUR DUG-OUTS IN THE FRONT LINE AT PICANTIN 1N WHICH
LIVED, FOUGHT, AND MANY" DIED DURING I914--I 5, BEFORE
THE DAYS OF TIN HATS
CHOOSING A POSITION FOR MY" CAMERA IN THE FRONT LINE TRENCH
AT PICANTIN. WITH THE GUARDS. WINTER, i915-i6 .
THIg PRINCE OF WALES TRYING TO LOCATE ,IY " CAMOUFLAGED
THE PRINCE OF WALES LEAVING A TEMPORARY CHURCH AT LA
GORGUE, XMAS DAY, I915 .
ON THE WAI r TO THE " ][ENIN DATE " WITH AN ARTILLERI r OFFICER
TO FILM OUR GUNS IN ACTION
TAKING SCENES IN DEVASTATED YPRES, IIAY, I916
IN YPRES, WITH " BABY " BROOKS, THE OFFICIAL STILL PHOTO-
GRAPHER, MAY, 1916 .
WITH MY AEROSCOVE CAMERA AFTER FILMING THE BATTLE OF
IN THE VAIN STREET OF CONTALMAISON THE DAY OF ITS CAPTURE
LAUNCHING A SMOKE BARRAGE AT THE ]ATTLE OF ST. ELOI
IN THE TRENCHES AT THE FAMOUS AND DEADLY «'HoHENZoLLERN
REDOUBT," AFTER A GERMAN ATTACK
IN A SHELL-HOLE IN " No 1VAN'S LAND '» FILMING OUR HEAVY
BOMBARDMENT OF THE GERMAN LINES
GEOFFREY" E. i'V[ALINS, O.B.E., OFFICIAL KINEMATOGRAPHER TO THE
BOMBARDING THE GERMAN TRENCHES AT THE OPENING BATTLE
OF THE GREAT SOMME FIGHT, JUL¥ IST, 1916
MY" OFFICIAL PASS TO THE FRONT LINE TO FILM THE BATTLE OF
THE SOMME, JULY IST, 1916
THE PLAN OF ATTACK AT BEAUMONT HAMEL. JULY IST, 1916
HOW I FILMED THE WAR
OVER THE TOP OF BEAUMONT HAMEL. ULY IST, I916
IN THE SUNKEN ROAD AT BEAUMONT HAMEL, ]UST BEFORE ZERO
HOUR, JuLY IST, I96
I A TRENCH MORTAR TUNNEL, DURING THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME.
AT BEAUMONT HAMEL, JuL IST, I916
THE OPENING OF THE GREAT BATTLE OF THE SOMME, JULY IST,
THE OLL CALL OF THE SEAFORTHS AT " WHITE CITY," BEAU-
MONT HAMEL, JULY IST» I916
FAGGED OUT IN THE " VHITE CITV " AFTER WE RETIRED TO OUR
TRENCHES, JULY IST, I916
OVIERS, Jç 3Rb D 4, 96
«« HOHENZOLLR EDOUBT "
ACCOMPANIED BY PRESIDET POINCARÉ, SIR DOUGLAS HAIG,
GE JovvR D GEER Foc
HIS ]AJESTY THE KING, WIT PRESIDET POICAR, IN FRANCE,
HER [AJESTY, THE UEEN OF THE BELGIAS, TAKING A SAP OF
ME AT WORK WHILE FILMING THE ING
THE PRINCE OF VALES SPEAKIG WITH BELGIA OFFICERS AT LA
THE FIRST " TANK "' THAT WENT INTO ACTION, .[.L.S. " DAPHNE."
SVTMR 5TH, X96
THE BATTEmV O " GXCH
ESERVES WATCHING THE ATTACK AT [ARTINPUICH, SEPTEMBER
OVER THE TOP AT MARTINPUICH, SEPT. I5TH, I916
TWO MINUTES TO ZERO HOUR AT MARTINPUICH, SEPT. I 5TH, I916
THE HIGHLAND BRIGADE GOING OVER THE ToP AT MARTINPUICH,
LORD KITCHENER'S LAST VISIT TO FRANCE
FILMING OUR GUNS IN ACTION DURING THE GREAT GERMAN
TO ST. UENTIN, MARCH, I9I 7 .
THE QUARRY ROM WmCH I CRAWLEV TO FILM THE GERMAN
TRECHES X FRONT OF ST. QUENTIN,
OU OUTPOST LINE WITHIN 800 YARDS OF ST.
HOW I FILMED THE WAR
A FEW WORDS OF INTRODUCTION
-, ATE has hot been unkind to me. I have had
my chances, particularly during the last
1 two or three years, and--well, I have done
my best to make the most of what has corne my way.
That and nothing more.
How I came fo be entrusted with the important
commission of acting as Official War Office Kine-
matographer is an interesting story, and the first
few chapters of this book recount the sequence of
events that led up to my being given the appoint-
Let me begin by saying that I ara not a writer,
I ara just a " movie man," as they called me out
there. My mind is stored full to overflowing with
the impressions of all I have seen and heard ; recol-
lections of adventures crowd upon me thick and fast.
Thoughts flash through my mind, and almost tumble
over one another as I strive to record them. Yet at
times, when I take pen in hand to write them down,
they seem to elude me for the moment, and make
the task more difficult than I had anticipated.
In the following chapters I have merely aimed at
.setting .down, in simple language, a record of my
lmpresslons, so far as I can recall them, of what I
have seen of many and varied phases of the Great
4 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
Drama which has now been played to a finish on the
other side of the English Channel. Most of those
recollections were penned at odd moments, soon
after the events chronicled, when they were still
fresh in mind, often within range of the guns.
It was my good fortune for two years fo be one
of the ONcial War Office Kinematographers. I vas
privileged fo move about on the Western Front with
considerable freedom. My actions were largc.ly un-
trammelled; I had my instructions to carry out;
my superiors to satisfy; my work to do; and I
endeavourcd to do all that has been required of me
fo the best of my ability, never thinking of the cost,
or consequences, to myself of an adventure so long
as I secured a pictorial record of the deeds of out
heroic Army in France. I have striven to make my
pictures worthy of being preserved as a permanent
memorial of the greatest Drama in history.
That is the keynote of this record. As an Official
Kinematographer I have striven to be, and I have
tried all the rime to realise that I was the eyes of
the millions of my fellow-countrymen at home. In
my pictures I have endeavoured to catch something
of the glamour, as well as the awful horror of it all.
I have caught a picture here, a picture there; a
scene in this place, a scene in that ; and all the rime
at the back of my mind has always been the thought :
" That will give them some idea of things as they
are out here." My pictures have never been taken
with the idea of merely making pictures, nor with
the sole idea, as some people think, of merely prox-id-
ing a " thrill." I regarded my task in a different
light fo that. To me has been entrusted the task of
secufing for the enlightenment and education of the
people of to-day, and of future generations, such a
picture as will stir their imaginations and thrill
their hearts with pride.
This by way of introduction. Now to proceed
with my task, the telling of the adventures of a
kinematograph camera man in war-time.
From my early days I was always interested in
photography, and boyish experiments eventually
led me along the path to my life's vocation. In rime
I took up the study of kinematography, and j oined
the staff of the Clarendon Film .Company (of London
and Croydon), one of the ploneer firms in the
industry. There I learned much and ruade such
.progress that in rime I was entrusted with the film-
lng of great productions, which cost thousands of
pounds to make. From there I went to the Gaumont
Company, and I vas in the service of this great
Anglo-French film organisation when war broke
During the early days of the autumn of 1914. I
was busily occupied in fi.lming various scenes in
connection with the war in different parts of the
country. One day when I was at the London office
of the Company I was sent for by the Chief.
" We want a man to go out to Belgium and get
some good ' stuff.' [Stuff, let me say, is the technical
or slang terre for film pictures.] How would you
like to go ? "
" Go ? " I asked. " I'm ready. When ? Now ? "
" As soon as you like."
" Right, I'm ready," I said, without a moment's
hesitation, little thinking of the nature of the
adventure upon which I was so eager to embark.
And so it came about. Provided with the neces-
sary cash, and an Aeroscope camera, I started off
next day, and the following chapters record a few of
my adventures in search of pictorial material for the
XVITH THE BELGIANS AT RAMSCAPELLE
1 Rt.ach the First Line Belgian Trenches--And becomc a I3elgian
Soldier for the Time 13eing--A Night Attack--An Adventure
whilst Filming a Mitrailleuse Outpost--Among thc luins of
Rarnscapclle--I Lcave thc Company and Lose my Way in the
Darkncss--A 'clcome Light and a Long Slcep--Hcw Little
docs the Public know of thc Dangt.rs and DifficulLies a Film
Operator has te Face.
EAVING London, I crossed te France. I
arranged, as far as possible, te get through
from Calais te Furnes, and with the greatest
of good luck I Inanaged it, arriving at Iny destination
at eleven o'clock at night. As usual, it was raining
Starting out next day for the front line, I reached
the district whcre a battalion was resting--I was
allowed in their quarters. Addressing one of the inen,
I asked if he could speak English. " Non, monsieur,"
and making a sign te Ine te remain he hurried off.
Back came the fellow with an oflïcer.
" What de you want, monsieur ? " said he in fine
" You speak English well," I replied.
" Yes, monsieur, I was in England for four years
previous te the war." Se I explained my position.
" I want te accolnpany you te the trenches te take
solne kinelna fillns."
After exchanging a few words he took me te his
superior officer, who extended every courtesy te me.
I explained te hiln what I was desirous of doing.
" But it is extraordinary, monsieur, that you should
AT RAMSCAPELLE 7
take such risks for pictures. You may in ail prob-
ability get shot."
" Possibly, sir," I replied, " but fo obtain genuine
scenes one must be absolutely in the front line."
" Ah, you English," he said, " you are extra-
ordlnaCre." Suddenly taking me by the arm, he led
me to an outhouse. At the door we met his Captain.
Introducing me, he began fo explain my wishes.
By the looks and the smiles, I knew things were going
well for me.
Calling the interpreter, the Captain said, " If you
accompany my men to the trenches you may get
killed. You must take ail risks. I cannot be held
responsible, remember!" And with a smile, he
turned and entered the house.
Hardly realising my good fortune, I nearly
hugged my new friend, the Lieutenant.
" Monsieur," I said, saluting, "I ara un Belge
soldat pro rem."
Laughingly he told me to get my kit ready, and
from a soldier who could speak English I borrowed
a water-bottle and two blankets. Going round to
the back of the farm, I came upon the test of the
men being served out with coffee from a copper.
Awaiting my tutu, I had my water-bottle filled;
then the bread rations were served out with tinned
herrings. Obtaining my allowance, I stowed it
away in my knapsack, rolled up my blanket and
fixed it on my back, and was ready. Then the
" Fall in " was sounded. What a happy-go-lucky
lot! No one would have thought these men were
going into battle, and that many of them would
probably hot return. This, unfortunately, turned
out to be only too true.
In my interest in the scene and anxiety to film it,
I was forgetting to put my own house in order.
"What if I don't corne back ? " I suddenly thought.
Begging some paper, I wrote a letter, addressed to
8 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
my firm, telling them whcre I had gone, and where
to call at Fumes for my films in the event of my
being shot. Addressîng it, I left it in charge of an
officer, to be posted if I did not return, and requested
that if anything happened to me my stuff should
be left at my café in Fumes. Shaking me by
the hand, he said he sincerely hoped it would not be
necessary. Laughingly I bade him adieu. Falling
in with the other men we started off, with the cheers
and good wishes of those left behind ringing in our
It was still raining, and, as we crossed the fields of
mud, I began to feel the weight of my equipment
pressing on my shoulders, which with my camera
and spare films made my progress very slow. Many
a rime during that march the men offered fo help
me, but, knowi.ng that they had quite enough
to do in carrylng their ovn load, I stubbornly
On we went, the roar of the guns getting nearer :
over field after field, fully eighteen inches deep in
mud, and keeping as close to hedges as possible,
fo escape detection from hostile aeroplanes. Near a
bridge we were stopped by an oftîcer.
" What's the marrer ? " I asked of my interpreter.
Not knowing, he went fo enquire.
An order was shouted. The whole regiment
rushed for cover fo a hedge which ran by the road-
side. I naturally followed. My friend told me that
the Germans had sent up an observation balloon,
so we dare not advance until nightfall, or they would
be sure to sec us and begin shelling our column
before we arrived at the trenches. In the rain we
sat huddled close together. Notwithstanding the
uncomfortable conditions, I was very thmkful for
the rest. Night came, and we got the word fo start
again. Progress was becoming more diftîcult than
ever, and I only kept myself from many a rime
falling headlong by clinging on to my
companion ; he did likevise.
Ye gods ! vhat a night, and vhat a sight ! Rain-
ing hard, a strong wind blowing, and the thick,
black, inky darkness every now and then illumin-
ated by the flash of the guns. Death vas certainly
in evidence to-night. One fclt it. The creative
genius of the weirdest, imaginative artist could hot
have painted a scene of death so truthfully. The
odour arising from dccaying bodies in the ground
was at times almost overw.helming.
We had been converslng generally during the
march, but nov vord was passed that we vere not
fo speak under any circumstances, hot until we were
in the trenches. A whispered order came that evcry
man must hold on to the comrade in front of him,
and bear to the leff. Reaching the trench allotted
to us, we vent along it in single file, up to our knees
in water. Sometimes a plank had been thrown
along it, or bricks, but generally there was nothing
but mud to plough through.
" Halt ! " came the command fo the section I was
with. " This is our shelter, monsieur," said a
Gropingly, I followed the speaker on hands and
knees. The shelter vas about xo_ feet long, 3 feet
6 inches high, the saine in width, and ruade of old
boards. On the top, outside, was about 9 inches of
earth, to render it as far as possible shrapnel-proof.
On the floor were some boards, placed on bricks and
covered with soddened straw. There was j ust
enough room for four of us.
Rolling ourselves in our blankets we lay down,
and by the light of an electric torch we ravenously
ate our bread and herrings. I enjoyed that simple
meal as rnuch as the finest dinner I have ever had
placed before me. Whilst eating, a messenger came
and warned us to be prepared for an attack. Heavy
o HOW I FILMED THE WAR
rifle-fire was taking place, both on the right and left
of out position.
" Well," thought I, " this is a good start ; they
might have waited for daylight, I could then film
their proceedings." At any rate, if the attack came,
I hoped it would last through the next day.
Switching off the light, we lay down and awaited
events. But not for long. The order came to man
the trench. Out xve tumbled, and took up out
positions. Suddenly out of the blackness, in the
direction of the German positions, came the rattle of
rifle-fire, and the bullcts began to 'histle overhead.
Keeping as low as possible, we replied, firing in
quick succcssion at the flashes of the enemy rifles.
This continued th.roughout the night.
Towards mormng, a fog settled down, which
blocked out out vlev of each other, and there
vas a lull in the fighting. At midday the attack
started again. Taking my apparatus, I filmed a
section of Belgians in action. Several rimes bullets
vhistled unpleasantly near my head. Passing along
the trench, I filmed a mitrailleuse battery in action,
which was literally moxving down the Germans as
fast as they appeared. Then I filmed another
section of men, while the bullets were flying all
around them. Several could not resist looking round
and laughing at the camera.
Whilst thus engaged, several shells fell within
thirty feet of me. Tvo failed to explode; another
exploded and sent a lump of mud full in my face.
With great spluttering, and I must adroit a little
svearig, I quickly cleaned it off. Then I filmed
a large shell-hole filled with vater, caused by the
explosion of a German " Jack Johnson."
The diameter was 28 feet across, and, roughly,
6 feet deep in the centre. At the other end of the
line I filmed a company damming the Canal, to turn
it into the German trenches.
AT RAMSCAPELLE II
Then I cautiously made my way back, and filmed
a section being served with hot coffee while under
tire. Coming upon some men warming themselves
round a bucket-stove, I joined the circle for a little
warmth. How comforting it was in that veritable
morass. Even as we chatted we were subj ected to
a heavy shrapnel attack, and the way we all scuttled
to the trench huts was a sight for the gods. It was
one mad scramble of laughing soldiers. Plunk--
plunk--plunk--came the shells, not 20-25 feet from
where we were siNing by the tire. Six shells fell in
out position, one failed to explode. I had a bet with
a Belgian officer that it was 30 feet from us. He bet
me it was 40 feet. Not to be done, I roughly
measured off a yard stick, and lc[t the shclter of the
trench to measure the distance. It turned out to be
28 feet. Just as I had finished, I heard three more
shells corne shrieking towards me. I simply dived
for the trench, and luckily reached it just in time.
Towards evening out artillery shelled a farm-house
about three-quarters of a mile distant, where the
Germans had three guns hidden, and through the
glasses I watched the shells drop into the building
and literally blow it to pieces. Unfortunately, it
was too far off to film it satisfactorily.
That night was practically a repetition of the
previous one. The trench was attacked the greater
part of the time, and bullets continually spattered
against the small iron plate.
Next morning I decided to try and film the
mitrailleuse outpost on a little spot of land in the
ttoods, only connected by a narrow strip of grass-land
just high enough to be out of reach of the water.
Still keeping low under cover of the trenches, I
ruade my way in that direction. Several officers
tried to persuadê me not to go, but knowing it
would make an excellent scene, I decided to risk it.
On the side of the bank nearest out front line the
12 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
ground sloped at a more abrupt angle, the distance
from the trench to the outpost being about sixty
yards. Rushing over the top of the parapet, I got
to the edge of the grass road and crouched down.
The water up to my knees, I made my way carefully
along. Twice I stumbled over dead bodies. At last
I reached the outpost safely, but during the last few
yards I must bave raised myself a little too high,
for the next minute several bullets splashed into the
water where I had been.
The outpost was very surprised when I ruade my
appearance, and expressed astonishment that I had
not been shot. "A miss is as good as a mlle," I
laughingly replied, and then I told them I had corne
to film them at v:ork. This I proceeded to do, and
got an excellent scene of the mitrailleuse in action,
and the other section loading up. The frightful
slaughter done by these guns is indescribable.
Nothing can possibly lire under the concentrated
tire of these weapons, as the Germans found to their
cost that day.
Af ter getting my scenes, I thanked the officer,
and was about to make my way back ; but he for-
bade me fo risk it, telling me to wait until night
and return under cover of the darkness. To this I
agreed, and that night left the outpost with the others
when the relief party came up.
Shortly after news was received that we were to
be relieved from duty in the trenches for the next
forty-eight hours ; the relief column was on frs way
to take our places. I was delighted, for I had been
wet through during the days and nights I had been
there, but was fully satisfied that I had got some
real lire films. Hastily packing up my equipment,
I stood waiting the signal to more off. At last the
relief came up. Holding. each other's hands, we
carefully made our way m Indian file along the
trench, on to the road, and into Ramscapelle.
WITH A I;RIIP OF BELGIAN OFI-'ICERS A'F FURNES, BEI.GIt'M 1914.
#3NE «I-" "IIIEM ['SEl» TO A"I" AS MY COURIER
ON SKIES IN THE V«):q«;ES .MOUNTAINS Jl_l.qT BEFORE TIIE FRENCH ATTACK,
17EBRUAR'$" AND _MARCII, 1915
AT RAMSCAPELLE 13
What a terrible sight i was! The skeletons of
houses stood grim and gaunt, and the sound of the
wind rushing through the ruins was like the moaning
of the spirits of the dead inhabitants crying aloud
for vengeance. The sounds increased in volume as
we neared this scene of awful desolation, and the
groans became a crescendo of shrieks which, com-
bined with the crash of shell-fire, made one's blood
Leaving the ruins behind we gained the main road,
and on a.rriving at the bridge where we had stopped
on our j ourney out, I parted with the company,
thinking to make my way to a café by a short cut
over some fields. I wished to heaven afterwards
that I had not done so. I cut across a ditch, feeling
my way as much as possible with a stick. But I had
not gone far before I knew I had lost my way. The
tain was driving pitilessly in my face, but I stumbled
on in the inky darkness, often above my knees in
thick clay mud. Several times I thought I should
never reach the road. It was far worse than being
I must have staggered along for about two miles
when I perceived a light ahead. Never was sight
more welcome. Remember, I had about fifty to
sixty pounds weight on my back, and having had
little or no sleep for rive nights my physical strogth
was at a low ebb. It seemed hours before I reached
that house, and when at last I got there I collapsed
on the floor.
I struggled up again in a few minutes, and asked
the bewildered occupants to give me hot coffee,
and after resting for an hour, I marie again for Furnes
reaching it in the early hours of the morning.
Going to my café, I went to bed, and slept for
eighteen hours ; the following day I packed up and
returned to London.
A day or two afterwards I was sitting comfortably
HOW I FILMED THE WAR
in a cushioned chair in the private theatre at our
London office watching these selfsame scenes being
projected upon the screen. Ah! thought I, how
little does the great public, for whom they are
tended, know of the difficulties and dangers, the
trials and tribulations, the kinematograph camera
man expcrienccs in order to obtain these pictures.
WITH THE GOUMIERS AT LOMBARTZYDE
A Morning of Surprises--The German Positions ]3ombarded Irom
the Sea--Filming the Goumiers in Action--I-Iov these Tenacious
Fighters Prepare for ]3attle--Goumier Habits and Customs--I
Take the Chief's Photograph for the First Time--And AIter-
vards take Food with Him--An Intercsting and Fruittul Adven-
ture Ends SatisIactorily.
NCE more I went to Furnes, and while
sipping my coffee at the café I heard a
remark made about the Goumiers (the
Arab horsemen employed by the French as scouts).
Quickly realising the possibilities in a film of such a
body of men, I ruade enquiries of the speakers as to
" Ah, monsieur, they are on the sand-dunes near
Nieuport. They are veritable fiends, monsieur,
with the Bosches, who run away from them like cats.
They are terrible fighters."
After such a gloving account, I thought the sooner
I interviewed these fighters the better.
Starting out next morning, I ruade a bee-line for
I soon began to hear the sharp crackle of rire-tire,
and artillery on my right opened tire on the German
position, and then the heavy boom, boom of the
guns from the sea. Looking in that direction, I
discerned several of our battleships opening tire,
the shells giving a fearful shriek as they passed
overhead. The Germans were certainly in for it that
Keeping along the bottom of the dunes, I observed
16 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
a Goumier encampment in the distance. At that
moment there came a rasping voice on my. right.
"Halt!" This certainly was a mornmg of
" Ah," I said, wffh a laugh, " you startled me."
"I am sorry, monsieur," he said. " The pass-
word, if you please ? "
" It is not necessary," I replied. "I wish to
speak to your officer. I will go by myself to the
officer in charge, it is not necessary for you to leave
your post. Direct me to Headquarters, and tell me
your captain's naine."
" Captain , monsieur. He is billeted in that
bouse which is half destroyed by shell-fire. Be
careful, monsieur, and keep low, or you will draw
the tire on you." He saluted, and turned back to
Making straight for the ruined house in question,
I observed a sentry on guard at the door. This, I
perceived, led to a cellar. I asked to sec the Captain.
The man saluted and entered the house, appearing
in a few minutes with his ctfief. I saluted, and bade
him " good morning," extending my hand, which
he grasped in a hearty handshake. I straightway
explained my business, and asked him for his co-
operation in securing some interesting films of the
Goumiers in action.
He replied that he would be glad to assist me as
far as possible.
" You will greatly hclp me, sir," I said, " if you
can roughly give me their location."
" That I cannot do," he replied, " but follow my
directions, and take your chance. I will, however,
accompany you a short distance."
We started out, keeping as much to the seashore
" Keep low,'" the Captain said, " the place is
thick with Bosche snipers." I certainly needed no
THE GOUMIERS AT LOMBARTZYDE 17
second warning, for I had experienced those gentry
before. " Out Goumiers are doing splendid work
here on the dunes. Itis, of course, like home to
them among the sand-heaps."
Out conversation was suddenly cut short by the
shriek of a shell coming in out direction. Simul-
taneously we fell fiat on the sand, and only iust in
rime, for on the other side of the dune the shell fell
and exploded, shaking the ground like a miniature
earthquake and throwing clouds of sand in our
" They have started on our encampment again,"
the Captain said, "but our huts are quite impervious
to their shells ; the sand is finer than armourplate."
Several more shells came hurtling overheard, but
fell some distance belfind us. Looking over the top
of the dune, I expected to see an enormous hole,
caused by the explosion, but judge my surprise on
seeing hardly any difference. The sides of the
cavity had apparently fallen in again. A short
distance further on the Captain said he would leave
" You can start now," and he pointed in the
distance to a moving object in the sand, crawling
along on its stomach for all the world like a shake.
" I will go," he said, " and if you see the Chief of the
Goumiers, tell him I sent you." With a handshake
we parte& I again turned to look at the Goumier
scout, his movements fascinated me. Keeping low
under the top of the dune, I made for a small hill,
from which I decided to film him. Reaching there,
I did so.
I then saw, going in opposite directions, two more
scouts, each proceeding to crawl slowly in the same
fashion as the first.
" This film certainly will be unique," I thought.
Who could imagine that within half an hour's ride
of this whirling sand, xàth full-blooded Arabs mov-
18 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
ing about upon it, the soldiers of Belgium are fighting
in two feet of mud and water, and bave been doing
so for months past. No one would think so to look
A rattle of musketry on my right served as a hint
that there were other scenes to be secured. Making
my way in the direction of the sound, I came upon
a body of Goumiers engaged in sniping at the
Germans. I filmed them, and was just moving
away when the interpreter of the company stop.ped
and questioned me. I told him of my prevlous
conversation vith the Cptain, vhich satisfied him.
" Well," he said, " you are just in time to catch
a troop going off on a scouting expedition," and he
led the way to a large dune looking down on the sea,
and there just moving off was the troop.
What a magnificent picture they marie, sitting on
their horses. They seemcd to be part of them.
Veritable black statues they looked, and their
movements were like a finely tensioned spring.
Hastily filming the troop, I hurried across and
succeeded in obtaining some scenes of another
detachment proceeding further on the flank, and as
they wound in and out up the sand-hills, I managed
to get into a splendid point of vantage, and filmed
them coming towards me. Their wild savage
huzzas, as they passed, were thrilling in the extreme.
Looking round, I perceived a curious-looking group
a short distance away, going through what appeared
to be some devotional ceremony.
Hastening down the hill, I crossed to the group,
which turned out to be under the command of the
Chief of the Goumiers himself, who was going
through a short ceremony with some scouts, previous
to their meeting the Germans. It was quite im-
pressive. Forming the four men up in line, the
Chier gave each of them instructions, waving signs
and symbols over their heads and bodies, then with
THE GOUMIERS AT LOMBARTZYDE 19
a chant sent them on their j ourney. The actual
obeisance was too sacred in itself fo film. I was told
by the interpreter afterwards that he was glad I did
hot do so, as they would have been very wrath ?
A few words about the customs of the Goumiers
may hot be out of place. These men are the aris-
tocracy of the Algerian Arabs ; men of independent
means in their own land. At the outbreak of war
they patriotically combined under their chief, and
offered themselves to the French Government,
which gladly accepted their services for work on the
sand-dunes of Flanders. The troop bore the whole
cost of their outfit and transport. They brought
their own native transport system with them. The
men obey none but their chief, at whose bidding
they would, I believe, even go through Hell itself.
All arguments, quarrels, and discussions in the troop
are brought before the Chief, whose word and judg-
ment is law.
On the dunes of Northern Flanders they had their
own encampment, conducted in their own native
style. They looked after their horses with as much
care as a fond mother does her child. The harness
and trappings were magnificently decorated with
beautiful designs in mother-of-pearl and gold, and
the men, when astride their horses and garbed in
their long flowing white burnouses, looked the very
personification of dignity. The Chief never handles
a rifle, it would be beneath his position to do so.
He is the Head, and lires up toit in every respect
I filmed him by the side of his horse. It was the
first time he had been photographed.
Retuming to the point where the scouts were
leaving, I decided to follow close behind them, on
the chance of getting some good scenes. Strapping
my camera on my back, and pushing a tuft of grass
under the strap, fo disguise it as much as possible
20 H0W I FILMED THE WAR
if viewed from the front, I crawled after them. One
may think that crawling on the sand is easy; well,
all I can say to those who think so is, " Try it." I
soon round it was not so easy as it looked, especially
under conditions where the raising of one's body
two or three inches above the top of the dune might
be possibly asking for a bullct through it, and draw-
ing a concentrated tire in one's direction.
I had crawled in this fashion for about 15o yards,
when I heard a shell corne shrieking in my direction.
With a plunk it fell, and exploded about forty feet
away, choking me with sand and hall blinding me for
about rive minutes. The acrid fumes, too, which
came from it, seemed to tighten my throat, making
respiration very difficult for some ten minutes after-
wards. Cautiously looking round, I tried to locate
the othcr scouts, but nowhere could they be seen. I
crawled for another thirty yards or so, but still no sign
of them. Deciding that if I continued by myself I
had everything to lose and nothing to gain, I con-
cluded that discretion was the better part of valour.
Possibly the buzzing sensation in my throat, and the
smarting of my eyes, helped me in coming to that
decision, so I retraced my steps, or rather crawl.
.Getting back to the encampment, I bathed my eyes
n water, which quickly soothed them.
In a short rime news came in that the scouts were
returning. Hurrying to the spot indicated, I was
just in rime to film them on their arrival. The
exultant look on their faces told me that they had
done good work.
I then filmed a general view of the encampment,
and several other interesting scenes, and was just
on the point of departing when the Chier asked me
to partake of some food with him. Being very
hungry, I accepted the invitation, and afterwards,
over a cup of coffee and cigarettes, I obtained through
an interpreter some very interesting information.
THE GOIJMIERS AT LOMBARTZYDE 21
The night being now well advanced, I bade the
Chief adieu, and striking out across the dunes I
made for Fumes. The effect of the star-shells sent
up by the Germans was very wonderful. They shed
a vivid blue light all round, throwing everything up
with startling clearness.
After about a mlle I was suddenly brought up by
the glitter of a sentry's bayonet. " Password,
monsieur." Flashing a lamp in my face, the man
evidently recognised me, for he had seen me with
his officer that day, and the next moment he
apologised for stopping me. " Pardon, monsieur,"
he said. " Pass, Monsieur Anglais, pardon ! "
Accepting his apologies, I moved off in the
direction of Fumes, where, after reviewing the
events of the previous days, I came fo the conclusion
that I had every reason fo be hankful that I had
once more returned from an interesting and fruitful
adventure with a whole skin.
THE BATTLE OF THE SAND-DUNES
A I)angcrous Adventurc and hat Came of It--A Race Across
the Sand-dunes--And a Spill in a Shell-Hole--Thc Fate of a
Spy--A I3attle in the Dunes--Of which I Secured Some Fine
Films--A Collision with an Obstructive Mule.
l ARRIVED at Oost-Dunkerque, which place I
decided to use as a base for this journey,
chiefly because it was on the main route to
Nieuport Bain. Having on my previous visit
proceeded on foot, and returned successfully, I
decided that I should go by car. To get what I
required meant that I should have to pass right
through the French lines.
Finding out a chauffeur who had previously
helped me, I explained my plans to him.
" Well, monsieur," he said, "I will try and help
you, but for me it is hot possible to get you through.
I ara stationed here indefinitely, but I have a friend
who drives an armoured car. I will ask him to do
it." We then parted ; I was to meet him with his
friend that night.
I packed my things as close as possible, tying two
extra spools of film in a package round my waist
under my coat, put on my knapsack, and drew my
Balaclava helmet well down over my chin.
Anxiously I awaited my friends. Seven o'clock--
eight o'clock--nine o'clock. " Were they unable to
corne for me ? " "Was there some hitch in the
arrangement ? " These thoughts flashed through my
mind, when suddenly I heard a voice call behind me.
" Monsieur, monsieur ! "
U";IN«; .MV AEROSCOPE CAMERA IN }:ELGIU.M 1914-15
IHE BATTLE OI r THE SAND-DUNES 23
Turning, I saw my chauffeur friend beckoning to
me. Hurrying forward, I asked if all was well.
" Oui, monsieur. I will meet you by the railway
This was the beginning of an adventure which I
shall always remember. I had been up at the bridge
some two minutes, when the armoured car glided up.
" Up, monsieur," came a voice, and up I got.
Placing my camera by the side of the mitrailleuse,
I sat by my chauffeur, and we started off for the
Dashing along roads covered with shell-holes,
I marvelled again and again at the man's wonderful
driving. Heaps of times we escaped a smash-up by a
On we went over the dunes; the night was
continuously lighted up by flashes from the big guns,
both French and German. We were pulled up with
a jerk, which sent me flying over the left wheel,
doing a somersault, and finally landing head first
into a lovely soft sandbank. Spluttering and
staggering to my feet, I looked round for the cause
of my sudden exit from the car, and there in the
glare of the headlight were two French offlcers.
Both were laughing heartily and appreciating the
joke. As I had not hurt myself, I joined in. After
out hilarity had subsided they apologised, and
hoped I had not hurt myself. Seeing that I was an
an Englishman, they asked me where I was going.
I replied, " to Nieuport Bain." They asked me if
my chauffeur might take a message to the Captain
of the -- Chasseurs. " Yes, y , I replied,
" with pleasure."
Thinking that by staying every second might be
dangerous, I asked the offlcers to give the message,
and we would proceed. They did so, and again
apologising for their abrupt appearance, they bade
us " good night."
24 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
I hurriedly bade the drivcr start off, and away we
went. He evidently had hot got over his nervous-
ness, for, airer going about three-quarters of a toile,
we tan into a large, partially filled shell-hole, burying
the Iront wheels above the axle. To save myself
Irom a second dive, I clutched hold ol the mitrail-
This was a position indeed! Scooping away as
much sand as possible from the front wheels, we put
on Iull power, and tried to back the car out ol it.
But as the rear wheels were unable to grip in the sand
it would hot budge.
While there the Germans must bave seen our light,
for suddenly a star-shell shot up from their position,
illuminating the ground Ior a great distance. I
swiftly pinched the tube ol our headlight, so putting
it out, then dropped Iull length on the sand. I
observed my companion had done the same.
We lay there Ior about ten minutes, hot knowing
what to expect, but luckily nothing happened. It
was obvious that we could hot move the car without
assistance, so shouldering my apparatus we started
to walk the remaining distance. Twice we were held
up by sentries, but by giving the password we got
through. Enquiring for the headquarters of
Captain , we were directed to a ruined house
which had been destroyed by German shell-fire.
" Mon Capitaine is in the cellar, monsieur."
Thinking that it would be a better introduction
if I personally delivered the message to the Captain,
I asked my chauffeur to let me do so. Asking the
sentry at the door to take me to his Captain, we
passed down some dozen steps and into a comfort-
ably furnished cellar. Sitting round a little table
were seven officers. I asked for Captain
" He is hot here, monsieur," said one. " Is it
urgent ? "
" I do not know," I replie& I was trying to form
BATTLE OF THE SAND-DUNES 25
another reply in French, when an officer asked me
in English if he could be of any service. I told him
that an officer had given me a message to deliver on
my j ourney here, but owing to an accident to the
car I had had to walk. Taking the letter, he said he
would send a messenger to the Captain with it.
" You must be hungry, monsieur. Will you share
a snack with us ? " Gladly accepting their hospi-
tality, I sat down with them. " Are you from
London ? " he asked.
" Yes," I said. " Do you know it ? "
" Yes, yes," he replied. " I was for three years
there. But are you militaire ?" he enquired.
" Well, hardly that," I confess. "I ara here to
take kinema records of the war. I have corne in this
direction to film an action on the sand-dunes. Will
you help me ? "
" I will do what I can for you," he replied. " We
expect to make a sortie to-morrow morning. It will
be very risky for you."
" I will take my chance," I replied, " with you."
Whilst out conversation proceeded, I noticed a
scuffling on the cellar steps, then into the room
came four soldiers with a man in peasant's clothes.
He turned out to be a spy caught signalling in the
dunes. They brought him in to have a cup of coffee
before taking him out tobe shot. He was asked if
he would take sugar ; his reply was " No."
Presently there was a shot outside, and there was
one spy the less.
The Captain returned and, after explanations,
ruade me understand that he would accept no
responsibility for my safety. Those conditions I
did not mind a scrap. Rolling myself in a blanket,
I tumbled in. " What would the morrow bring
forth ? " I wondered.
I was up next morning at four o'clock. Every-
where there was a state of suppressed excitement.
HOW I FILMED THE WAR
Outside the men were preparing, but there was not
the least sign of confusion anywhere. To look at
them one would hOt imagine these men were going
out to fight, knowing that some of them at least
would hot return again. But itis war, and sentiment
has no place in their thoughts.
The order came to line up. Hours before the
scouts had gone out to prepare the ground. They
had hot returned yet. Personally, I hoped they
would hOt turn up till the day was a little more
advanced. Eight o'clock; still not sufficient light
for filming. A lieutenant came to me, and said if
I would go carefully along the sand-dunes in the
direction he suggested, possibly it would be better ;
he would say no more. I did so; and I had only
gone about hall a kilometre when, chancing to turn
back, I spied coming over the dunes on my right
two scouts, running for all they were worth.
Quietly getting my camera into position, I started
exposing, being certain this was the opening of the
attack. I was not mistaken, for within a few minutes
the advance guard came hurrying up in the distance ;
the attack was about to begin. Suddenly the French
g-uns opened tire ; they were concealed some distance
in the rear. Shells then went at it thick and fast,
shrieking one after the other overhead.
The advance guard opened out, clambered up the
dunes, and disappeared over the top, I filming
them. I waited until the supporting column came
up, and filmed them also. I followed them up and
over the dunes. Dcploying along the top, they
spread out about six metres apart, with the object
of deceiving the Germans as to their numbers, until
the supporting column reached them. The battle
of musketry then rang out. Cautiously advancing
with a company, I filmed them take the offensive
and make for a large dune forty yards ahead.
Successfully reaching it they lay down and fired in
BATTLE OF THE SAND-DUNES 27
rapid succession. Crawling up, I managed to take a
fine scene of the attack, showing the explosion of two
French shells over the ruins of the town. The
Germans evidently found our range, for several
shells came whistling unpleasantly near me.
What followed was a succession of scenes, show-
ing the covering columns advancing and others
moving round on the flank. The Germans lost
very heavily in this engagement, and great progress
was ruade by the gallant French. While filming a
section of the flanking party, I had the nearest
acquaintance with a shell that I shall ever wish for.
I don't think it would have been the good fortune of
many to have such an experience and corne scathless
out of ff.
I was kneeling filming the scene, when I heard a
shell hurtling in my direction. Knowing that if I
moved I might as likely run into it as not, I remained
where I was, still operating my camera, when an
explosion occurred just behind me, which sounded
as if the earth itself had cracked. The concussion
threw me with terrific force head over heels into the
sand. The explosion seemed to cause a vacuum in
the air for some distance around, for try as I would
I could not get my breath. I lay gasping and
struggling like a drowning man for what seemed an
interminable length of rime, although it could bave
only been a few seconds.
Af last I pulled round; my first thought was for
my camera. I saw ita short distance away, half
buried in the sand. Picking it up, I was greatly
relieved to find it uninjured, but choked with sand
round the lens, which I quickly cleared. The im-
pression on my body, caused by the concussion of
the exploding shell, seemed as if the whole of one
side of me had been struck with something soft,
yet with such terrible force that I felt it all over af
the same moment. That is the best way I can
28 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
describe ff, and I assure you I don't wish for a
second interview. Æoticin gE some blood upon my
hand, I found a small wound on the knuckle.
Whether or no it was caused by a small splinter from
the shell, I cannot say; in all probability if was,
for I do hot think striking the soft sand would have
Turning back, I ruade for the sea road, and filmed
the reserves coming up to strengthen the positions
already won. Hurrying across in the direction of
another column, I filmed them steadily advancing,
while their comrades kept the Germans employed
from the top of a large dune. The main body then
came up and lined the top for a considerable distance,
and at the word of command the whole body arose
as one man. For the fraction of a second they were
strikingly silhouetted against the sky-line; then
with a cheer they charged down the other side.
Darkness was now closing in, making it impossible
for me to film any further developments, so I pro-
ceeded back to the cellar with an officer and some
men. After resting awhile, I decided to go back to
Fumes that night with my films and get home with
them as quickly, as possible. Meeting a small
transport car gomg in the desired direction after
some stores, I begged a ride, and getting up beside
the driver, we started off. Owing to the enormous
shell-holes if was impossible to proceed along the
road without a light.
What a magnificent sight it was. Magnesium
star-shells were continually being sent up by the
Germans. They hung in the air alight for about
thirty seconds, illuminating the ground like day.
When they disappeared the guns flashed out ; then
the French replied; aftei that more star-shells;
then the guns spoke again, and soit continued. We
were suddenly stopped by an officer warning us
to put out out lamp immediately, and proceed
BATTLE OF THE SAND-DUNES 2 9
cautiously for about three hundred yards. While
doing so a shell came screaming by. We knew then
that the Germans had seen out light. We immedi-
ately rushed to a shell-proof shelter in the sand. I
had barely reached it when a shell exploded close by
the car, half destroying the body of it. That was
the only one that came anywhere near. Running
to see what damage was done, I was pleased to see,
by the aid of a covered light, that the chassis was
practically uninjured. So starting up we once more
proceeded on our j ourney.
We had several narrow squeaks in negotiating
corners and miniature sand-banks, and once we
bumped into a mule that had strayed on to the road
--but whether it will do so again I don't know, for
after the bump it disappeared in a whirl of sand,
making a noise like a myriad of fiends let loose.
But the remainder of the journey was uneventful,
and after a long night's test I left for Calais.
UNDER HEAVV SHELL-FIRE
In a Trench Coat and Cap I again Run the GauntletmA Near
Squeak--Looking for Trouble- I Nearly Find It--A Rough
Ride and a Mud Bath--An Affair of Outposts--I Gct Used to
CrawlingHot Work at the Gunsl ara Reported Dead--But
Prove Very Much Alive-----And then Receive a ShockA
T IME after time I crossed over to France and
so into Belgium, and obtained a series of
pictures that delighted my employers,
and pleased the picture theatre public. But I
wanted something more than snapshots of topical
Unfortunately, I had been unable to make
previous arrangements for a car to take me into
Belgium. The railroad was barred to me, and walk-
ing quite out of the question. A motor-car was the
only method of travelling. Airer two days of careful
.enquiries, I at last round a man to take me. He was
In the transport department, taking meat to the
trenches. I was to meet him that evening on the
outskirts of Calais. And I met him that night
at an appointed rendezvous, and started on our
Eventually we entered Furnes. Making my way
into a side street, I told my chauffeur to call at a
certain address whenever he passed through the
town, and if I should require his services further,
I would leave a letter to that effect.
I was awakened next morning by being vigorously
shaken by my Belgian friend, Jules.
UNDER HEAVY SHELL-FIRE 31
" Quick, monsieur, the Germans are bombarding
us," he cried.
Jumping out of bed, I rushed to the window. The
next second I heard the shriek of shells coming
nearer. With a crash and a fearful explosion they
burst practically simultaneously on the houses
opposite, completely demolishing them, but luckily
killing no one. Hastily dressing, I grabbcd my
camera and went out into the square and waited.
hoping to film, if possible, the explosion of the shells
as they fell on the buildings. Two more shells came
shrieking over. The few people about were quickly
making for the cover of their cellars. Getting my
camera into position, ready to swing in any direction,
I waited. With deafening explosions the shells
exploded in a small street behind me. The Germans
were evidently trying to smash up the old Flemish
town hall, which was in the corner of the market-
place, so I decided to fix my focus in its direction.
But though I waited for over an hour, nothing else
happ.ened. The Germans had ceased firing for that
mormng at least. Not till I had gone to my café did
I realise the danger I had exposed myself to, but
somehow I had seemed so confident that I should
not get hit, that to film the explosions entirely
absorbed all my thoughts.
Next morning I decided to tour the front line,
if possible from Dixmude to Nieuport, making
Ramscapelle a centre. I hoped to drop in with an
isolated action or a few outpost duels, for up to the
present things were going exceedingly slow from my
point of view.
Arranging for a dispatch rider to take me alon.g to
Ramscapelle, away I went. The roads were in a
frightful condition after months of tain, and shell-
holes were dotted all over the surface. It is marvel-
lous these men do not more frequently meet death
by accident, for what with the back wheel sliding
32 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
and skidding like an unbroken mule, and dodging
round shell-holes as if we were playing musical
chairs, and hanging round the driver's waist like a
limpet to keep out balance, it was anything but a
comfortable experience. In the end one back wheel
slipped into a shell-hole and pitched me into a lovely
pool of water and mud. Then after remounting,
we were edged off lle road into lte mud again by a
heavy transport lorry, and enjoyed a second mud-
bath. After that I came to the conclusion that I
would rather film a close view of a bayonet charge
lhan do another such journey.
By now I was the most abject-looking specimen
of lmmanity imaginable. My camera in its case was
securely fastened on my shoulders as a knapsack,
and so, with the exception of a slight derangement,
which I soon readjusted, no damage was done. But
the motor-cycle suffered considerably, and leaving
it alongside the road to await a breakdon lorry to
repair it--or a shell to finish it--I proceeded on foot
Within a hundred yards of the ruined town, from
the shelter of a wrecked barn came the voice of a
Belgian soldier peremptorily ordering me to take
cover. Without asking questions, I did so by
sprawling full length in a deep wheel-rut, but as I
had previously had a mud-bath, a little more or less
did hot matter. I wriggled myself towards the
cover of lhe barn, when a sharp volley of rifle-fire
broke out on my left. Gaining shelter, I asked the
soldier the reason of the fusillade.
" Uhlan outposts, monsieur," replied the man
Keeping under cover, I crawled towards the back
of the barn, and ensconced behind some bales of
straw, on a small bridge, I filmed this Belgian out-
post driving off the Uhlans, and peeping through
one of the rifle slots, I could see them shohag a
clean pair of heels, but hot without losing one of
their number. He was brought into our lines later,
and I was lucky enough to secure the pennon from
his lance as a souvenir.
I ruade my way by various means into the town.
The place was absolutely devoid of life. It was
highly dangerous to move about in the open. To be
seen by the German airmen was the signal for being
shelled for about three hours.
Whilst filming some of the ruins, I was startled by
a sharp word of command. Turning round, I saw a
Belgian soldier, with his rifle pointing at me. He
ordered me to advance. I produced my permit, and
giving the password, I quite satisfied him. Bidding
me corne inside he indicated a seat, and asked me to
have some soup. And didn't it smell appetising!
A broken door served as a table ; various oddments,
as chairs and the soup-copper, stood in the centre
of the table. This proved one of the most enjoyable
meals of the campaign.
The soldier told me they had tobe very careful to
guard, against spies. They had caught one only. that
mornmg, " but he will spy no more, monsieur,"
he said, with a significant look.
I rose, and said I must leave them, as I wanted to
take advantage of the daylight. I asked my friend
if he could give me any information as to the where-
abouts of anything interesting to film, as I wanted
to take back scenes to show the people of England
the ravages caused in Belgium by the Huns, and the
brave Belgians in action. He was full of regrets
that he was not able to accompany me, but being on
duty he dare hot move.
With a hearty shake of the hand and best wishes
we parted, and, keeping under cover of the ruined
buildings as much as possible, I ruade my way
through Ramscapelle. Hardened as I was by now
to sights of devastation, I could not help a lump
34 HOW I FILMED THE
rising in my throat when I came upon children's toys,
babies' cots, and suchlike things, peeping out from
among the ruins caused by the German guns..
These scenes caused me fo wander on in deep
.thought, quite oblivious to my immediate surround-
mgs. This momentary lapse nearly proved disas-
trous. By some means I had passed the sentries,
and wandered practically on top of a Belgian
concealed heavy gun battery. I was quickly
brought to my senses by being dragged into a gun
trench, absolutely invisible both from the front and
Compelled fo go on hands and knees into the dug-
oui, I was confronted by a rather irate Belgian
officer, who demanded why I xvas there walking
about and not taking cover. Did I know that I had
drawn the enemy's tire, which was very nearly an
unpardonable offence ?
Quickly realising the seriousness of my position,
I thought the best thing to do was fo tell him my
mission, and so I explained fo the officer that I had
unconsciously wandered there.
" There, monsieur," he said, " that is what you
have done," and at that moment I heard two shells
explode fiffeen yards behind us. " We date not
reply, monsieur," he said, " because this is a secret
battery. Mon Dieu ! " he exclaimed, " I hope they
cease firing, or they may destroy out defences."
Fortunately, the Germans seeing no further sign of
life, evidently thought it was a case of an isolated
soldier, and so ceased their tire. Imagine my
I enquired if there was anyone there who could
speak English. A messenger was sent out and
returned with a Belgian, who before the war broke
out was a teacher of languages in England. With
his aid I gave the chief officer full explanation, and
pledged my word of honour that neither names,
UNDER HEAVY SHELL-FIRE 35
districts, nor details of positions should ever be
Wishing to film some scenes of big guns in action,
I enquired whether he was going to tire. He was
expecting orders any minute, so rnaking myself as
cornfortable as possible in the dug-out, I waited.
But nothing happened, and that night, and the one
following, I slept there.
Early next rnorning (about 3 a.rn.) I was awakened
by the noise of a terrific cannonading. Together
with the officer I crawled out on to the top of our
embankrnent and viewed the scene. The Gerrnans
had started a night attack, the Belgian guns had
caught them in the act and were skelling them for
all they were worth.
As soon as it was daylight I strapped rny carnera
on rny back, and, lying fiat in the rnud, I edged
away in the direction of the battery. Before leaving,
the officer gave rne a final warning about drawing the
Germans' tire. Alternately crawling and working
rny way on hands and knees, and taking advantage
of any little bit of cover, I drew nearer to the guns.
While I was lying here, there crashed out a regular
infemo of rifle-fire from the German trenches. The
bullets sang overhead like a flight of hornets.
This certainly was a warm corner. If I had filmed
this scene, all that would have been shown was a
dreary waste of mud-heaps, caused by the explosion
of the shells, and the graves of fallen soldiers dotted
all over the place. As far as the eye could see the
country was absolutely devoid of any living thing.
Thousands of people in England, comfortably
seated in the picture theatre, would have passed
this scene by as quite uninteresting except for its
rnemories. But if the sounds I heard, and the flying
bullets that whizzed by me, could have been photo-
graphed, they might take a different view of it.
Death was everywhere. The air was thick with it.
36 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
To have lifted my head would have meant the billet
for a bullet. So there I had to lie soaked through to
the skin, and before I had been there twenty minutes
I was literally lying in water. The German fusillade
seemed interminable. Suddenly with a roar the
Belgian guns spoke. About fifty shells were fired,
and gradually the rifle-fire ceased. With a sigh of
relief I drew myself out of the hole which my body
had made, and on my elbows and knees, like a baby
crawling, I covered the intervening ground fo the
battery. Getting up, and bending nearly double,
I tan under cover of the barricades.
The men were astounded to see me run in. I went
in the direction of a group of officers, who looked at
me in amazement. Saluting me, one of them came
forward and asked who I wanted. Explaining my
business, I told him I had permission from head-
quarters to film any scenes of interest. The officer
then introduced me to his friends, who asked me
how in the world I had crossed the district without
getting hit. I described my movements, and they
all agreed that I was exceedingly lucky.
Once more the guns started, so getting my camera
ready I commenced filming them m action, one
scene after another. I changed from the firing of
one gun to the full battery in action. The men were
working like mad. All the rime they were baling
water out of the gun trenches with buckets. In
some cases airer the gun had fired if sank back about
eighteen inches in the mud, and had to be dug out
and set again. These poor devils had been doing
this for nearly four months, every man of them was
While taking these scenes, my compressed air
cylinders tan out. Looking round for somevhere
solid on which to put my machine and foot-pump,
I round some bricks, and made a little foundation.
Then I started to pump up. At every six strokes of
UNDER HEAVY SHELL-FIRE 37
the pump, it was necessary to pack under it more
bricks, and still more, for the ground was a veritable
morass. In the ordinary way my camera takes
ten minutes to refill. On this occasion it took me
forty-five minutes, and all the rime guns were
Making my way in a semi-circle, under cover of
the communication trenches, to the most advanced
outpost, I filmed a party of Belgian snipers hard at
work, cheerfully sniping off any German unwise enough
to show the smallest portion of his head. Several
rimes while I was watching, I noticed one of the men
mark upon his rifle with the stub of a pencil. I
asked why he did it.
"That, monsieur," he replied, " is a mark for
every Bosche I shoot. See," he said, holding the
butt-end for me to look at, and I noticed twenty-
eight crosses marked upon it. Snatching it up to his
shoulder he fired agaln, and joyfully he added
By this rime it was getting dark, and quite im-
possible to take any more scenes, so I returned to the
battery, where the officer kindly invited me to stay
the night. Getting some dry straw from a water-
proof bag, we spread it out on the boards of the
trench-hut, rolled out blankets round out shoulders,
and lighted out cigarettes. Then they asked me
about England. They told me that as long as
Belgium existed they would never forget what
England had done for her people. While talking
our candle went out, and as we had no other we sat
in the darkness, huddled together to keep warm.
Heavy tain again came on, penetrating through the
earth roof and soaking into my blanket.
I must have dozed off, for after a little while I
awoke with a start and, looking towards the entrance,
I noticed a blue-white glare of light. As my coin-
panions were getting out, I followed them, in time
38 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
to see the Germans sending up star-shells, fo guard
against any attack on out part.
The following day I filmed several scenes con-
nected with the Belgian artillery and outposts. I
waited during the remainder of the day fo catch, if
possible, some scenes of German shells exploding,
but again I was doomed fo disappointment, for, ç'ith
the exception of a few af a distance, I was never able
fo get the close ones in my field of view.
Having exhausted my stock of film, I decided to
return fo my base, but on bidding adieu to the
Commandant he begged me fo return under cover
of darkness. That night I set out for Furnes, and
after walki.g about an hour, I was lucky enough to
get a lift in an ambulance waggon, which set me
doum in the market-place.
Entering the café by a side door, my Belgian
friend seemed to me to be astounded at my appear-
ance. He immediately rushed up to me, shook my
hands and pummelled my back. His friends did the
saine. After I had got over my astonishment, I
ventured to ask the reason for this jubilation.
" Are thought you were dead," he cried; " we
heard you had been shot by the Germans, and as
you had not turned up for the last rive days, we
came to the conclusion that it was true. But,
monsieur, we cannot tell you how pleased we are to
see you again ali,e and well."
Seeing the condition I was in, they heated water
for a bath, and assisted me in every way possible.
Vrhen I was once more comfortable, I asked my
friend, over a cup of coffee, to tell me the exact report,
as it highly amused me.
" Well, monsieur," he said, " yo.ur motor c3"clist
came rushing in the other evenmg, saying that
Monsieur Malins, the Englishman, had been shot
while crossing ground between the two batteries.
He told us that you had been seen attempting the
UNDER HEAVY SHELL-FIRE 39
crossing ; that you suddenly threw up your arms,
and pitched forward dead. And, monsieur, we were
preparing to send your bag to London, with a letter
explaining the sad news. The Colonel was going to
write the letter."
" Well," I replied with a laugh, "I ara worth a
good many dead men yet. I remember crossing the
ground you mention--but, anyway, the' eye-witness'
who saw my death was certainly ' seeing things.' "
AMONG THE SNOWS OF THE VOSGES
I Staxt for the Vosges--Am Arrested on the Swiss FrontiermAnd
Released--But Arrested Again--And then Allowed to Go My
Way--Filming in the Firing Zone--A Wonderful French Charge
Over the Snow-clad Hills---I Take Big Isks--And Get a
T HE man who wants to film a fight, unlike
the man who wants to describe it, must be
really on the spot. A comfortable corner
in the H6tcl des Quoi, at Boulogne, is no use to the
" Is it possible to film actual events with the
French troops in the Vosges and Alsace ? " I was
asked when I got back after my last adventure.
" If the public wants those films," I replied, " the
public must have them." And without any previous
knovledge of the district, or its natural difficulties,
apart from the normal military troubles to which by
that rime I was hardened, I set out for Paris, deter-
mined to plan my route according to what I learned
there. And for the test I knew it would be luck that
would dctermine the result, because other camera
men had attempted to cover the same district, men
xvho knew evcrything there was to be known in the
way of getting on the spot, and all had been turned
back vith trifling success.
For various reasons, among them the claims of
picturesqueness, St. Dié struck me as the best field,
and to get there it is necessary to make a detour into
Switzerland. From Geneva, where I arranged for
transport of my films in case of urgent need, much
AND "Ïl I ff
THE SNOVTS OF THE VOSGES 41
as an Arctic explorer would leave supplies of food
behind him on his way to the Pole, I arranged in
certain places that if I was not heard from at certain
dates and certain rimes, enquiries were to be made,
diplomatically, for me.
From Basle I went to the Swiss frontier, and had
a splendid view of the Alsace country, which was
in German possession. German and Swiss guards
stood on either side of the boundary, and they made
such a picturesque scene that I filmed them, which
was nearly disastrous. A gendarme pounced on me
at once, took me to general headquarters and then
back to Perrontruy, whcre I was escorted through
the streets by an armed guard.
At the military barracks I was thoroughly
examined by the chief of the staff, who drew my
attention to a military notice, prohibiting any photo-
graphing of Swiss soldicry. He decided that my
offence was so tank that it must go before another
tribunal, and off I was marched to Delemont, where
a sort of court-martial was held on me. My film, of
course, was confiscated ; that was the least I could
expect, but they also extracted a promise in writin.g
that I would not take any more photographs in
Switzerland, and they gave me a few hours to leave
the country, by way of Berne.
That didn't suit me at all. Berne was too far away
from my intended destination, and, after a hurried
study of the map, I decided to chance it, and go to
Biel. I did. So did the man told off to watch me.
And when I left the train at Biel he arrested me. I
am afraid I sang " Rule Britannia " very loudly to
those good gentlemen before whom he took me,
claiming the right of a British citizen to do as he
liked, within reason, in a neutral country.
In the result they told me to get out of the country
any .way I liked, if only I would get out, and, as my
opinion was much the same, we parted good friends.
42 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
I had lost a week, and many feet of good film,
which showed me that the difficulties I should bave
to face in my chosen field of operations were by far
the greatest I had up to then encountered in any of
my trips to the firing line. I pushed on through
Besançon on the way to Belfort.
Now Belfort, being a fortified town, was an
obviously impossible place for me to get into, becallse
I shouldn't get out again in a hurry. So I took a
slow train, descended at a small station on the out-
skirts, prepared to make my way across country to
Remiremont. This I achieved, very slowly, and
with many difficulties, by means of peasants' carts
and an occasional ride on horseback.
This brought me into the firing zone, and the
region of snow. My danger was iacreased, and my
mode of progress more difficult, because for the
first rime in my life I had to take to skis. So many
people have told the story of their first attempts
with these that I will content myself with saying
that, after many tumbles, I became roughly accus-
tomed to them, and that when sledge transport was
not available, I was able to make my way on ski. I
don't suppose anyone else has ever learned to ski
under such queer conditions, with the roar of big
guns rllmbling round all the time, with my whole
expedition trembling every moment in the balance.
The end of my j ourney to St. Dié was the most
dramatic part of the whole business. Tired out, I
saw a café on the outskirts of the village, which I
thought would serve me as a reconnoitring post,
so I went in and ordered some coffee. I had not been
there rive minutes when some officers walked in, and
drew themselves up sharply when they saw a
stranger there, in a mlld-stained costume that might
have been a British army uniform. I decided to
take the bold course. I rose, saluted them, and in
my Anglo-French ished them good evening. They
THE SNOWS OF THE VOSGES 43
returned my reeting and sat down, conversing in
an undertone, with an occasional side-flung glance
at me. I saw that my attack would have to be
pushed home, especially as I caught the word
" espion," or my fevered imagination ruade me think
I rose and crossed to their table, all smiles, and in
my best French heartily agreed with them that one
bas to be very careful in war time about spies. In
fact, I added, I had no doubt they took me for
This counter-attack--and possibly the very notice-
able Britishness of my accent--rathcr confused them.
Happily one of them spoke a little English, and, with
that and my little French, satisfactory explanations
I affected no secrecy about my object, and asked
them frankly if it would be possible for pictures of
their regiment to be taken. One of them promised
to speak to the Commandant about it. I begged
them not to trouble about it, however, as really all
I wanted was a hint as to when and where an
engagement was probable, and then I would manage
to be there.
They. shrugged their shoulders in a most grimly
" If you do that it will be at your own risk," they
I gladly accepted the risk, and they then told me
of one or two vantage points in the district from
which I might manage to see something of the
operations, taking my chance, of course, of anything
happening near enough to be photographed, as they
could not, and quite rightly would not, say anything
as to the plans for the future.
It was not quite midday. I had at least four hours
of daylight, and I determined not to lose them. It
was obvious that my stay in St. Dié would be very
HOW I FILMED THE WAR
brief at the best. I hired a sledge and persuaded the
driver to take me part of the way at least to the
nearest point which the officers had mentioned.
But neither he nor his horse liked the way the
shells were coming around, and at last even his
avarice refused to be stimulated further at the
expense of his courage. So I strapped on my skis,
thankful for my earlier experience with them, and
sped towards a wood which French soldiers were
clearing of German snipers. I managed to get one
or two good incidents there, though occasional un-
certainty about my skis spoiled other fine scenes,
and in my haste to more flore one spot to another,
I once went head over heels into a snowdrift many
The ludicrous spectacle that I must have eut
only occurred to me afterwards, and the utterly in-
appropriate nature of such an incident within sight
of men who were battling in lire and death grip was
a reflection for calmer moments. I do not mind
confessing that my sole thought during the whole of
that afternoon was my camera and my films. The
lust of battle was in me too. I had overcome great
difficulties to obtain hot merely kinema-pictures,
but actual vivid records of the Great War, scenes
that posterity might look upon as true representa-
tions of the struggle their forefathers waged. Military
experts may argue as to whether this move or that
was really ruade in a battle : the tales of soldiers
returned from the wars become, in passing from
mouth to mouth, fables of the most wondrous deeds
of prowess. But the kinema film never alters. It
does not argue. It depicts.
The terrific cannonade that was proceeding told
me that beyond the crest of the hill an infantry
attack was preparing. It was for me a question of
finding both a vantage point and good cover, for
shells had already whizzed screaming overhead and
l tiE SIOWS OF THE VOSGES 45
exploded hot many yards behind me. There were
the remains of a wall ahead, and I discarded my
skis in order to crawl fiat on my stomach to one of
the larger remaining fragments, and when I got
behind it I found a most convenient hole, which
would allow me to work my camera without being
In the distance a few scouts, black against the
snow, crawled crouching up the hill.
The attack was beginning.
The snow-covered hillside became suddenly black
with moving figures sweeping in irregular formation
up towards the crest. Big gun and rifle tire mingled
like strophe and antistrophe of an anthem of death.
There was a certain massiveness about the noise
that was awful. Yet there was none of the tradi-
tional air of battle about the engagement. There
was no hand to hand fighting, for the opponents
were several hundred yards apart. It was just now
and then when one saw a little distant figure pitch
forward and lie still on the ShOW that one realised
there was real fighting going on, and that it was not
The gallant French troops swept on up the hill,
and I think I was the only man in all that district
who noted the black trail of spent human lire they
left behind them.
I raised myself ever so little to glance over the
top of my scrap of sheltering wall, and away across
the valley, on the crest of the other hill, I could see
specks which were the Germans. They appeared to
be massing ready for a charge, but the scene was too
far away for the camera to record it with any
I therefore swept round again to the French lines,
to meet the splendid sight of the French reserves
dashing up over the hill behind me to the support.
Every man seemed animated by the one idea--to
4 6 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
take the bill. There was a swing, an air of irresisti-
bility about them that was magnificent. But even
in the midst of enthusiasm my trained sense told me
that my position must have been visible to some of
them, and that it was time for me to move.
I edged my way along the broken stumps of wall
to the shelter of a wood, and there, with bullets from
snipers occasionally sending twigs, leaves, and even
branches pattering down around me, .ith shells
bursting all round, I continued to filin the general
attack until the spool in the camera ran out. To
bave changed spools there would bave been the
height of folly, so I plunged down a side path, where
in the shelter of a dell, with thick undergrooEh, I
loaded up my camcra again, and utterly careless of
direction, ruade a dash for the edge of the wood
again, emerging just in rime fo catch the passage of
a Frcnch regiment advancing along the edge of the
wood to cut off the retreat of the little party of
Germans who had been endeavouring fo hold if as
an advanced sniping-post.
Snipers seemed to be in every tree. t3ullets
whistled down like acorns in the autumn breeze,
but the French suddenly formed a semi-circle and
pushed right into the vood, driving the enemy from
their perches in the trees or shootiaag them as they
Through the wood I plunged, utterly ignoring
every danger, both from friend or foe, in the thrill
of that wonderful " drive." Luck, however, xvas
with me. Neither the French nor the Germans
seemed to see me, and we all suddenly came out of
the wood at the far side, and I then managed fo get
a splendid picture of the end of the pursuit, Then
the French, wild with excitement at their success in
clearing the district of the enemy, plunged madly
down the hill in chase of the last remnants of the
THE SNOWS OF THE VOSGES 47
A few seconds later I darted back into the cover
of the trees.
My mission was accomplished. I had secured
pictures of actual events in the Vosges. But that
was the least part of my work. I had to get the film
The excitement of the pursuit had taken me far
from my starting-point, and with the reaction 1bat
set in when I was alone in the wood, with all its
memories and its ghastly memorials of the carnage,
I round it required all my strength of nerve to push
me on. I had to plough through open spaces, two
feet and more deep in snow, through undergrowth,
hOt knowing at what moment I might stumble
across some unseen thing. Above all, I had but the
barest recollection of my direction. It seemed
many hours before I regained my stump of wall and
found my skis lying just where I had cast them off.
It was a race against rime, too, for dusk was falling,
and I knew that it would be impossible to get out of
St. Dié by any conveyance after dark.
I had the luck to find a man with a sledge, who
was returning to a distant village, some way behind
the war zone, and he agreed for a substantial con-
sideration to take me. We drove for many hours
through the night, and it was very late when at last,
in a peasant's cottage, I flung myself fully dressed
on a sofa, for there was no spare bed, and slept like
a log for several hours.
It was by many odd conveyances that I ruade my
way to Besançon, and thence to Dijon. I had
managed to clean myself up, and looked less like an
escaped convict than I had done; but I was very
wary all the way to Paris, where I communicated
with headquarters, and received orders to rush the
films across to London as fast as ever I could.
Having overcome the perils of the land, I had to
face those of the sea, for the German submarines
48 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
were just beginning their campaign against merchant
shipping, and cross-Channel steamers were an almost
certain mark. So the boat service was suspended
for a day or two, and there was I stranded in Dieppe
with my precious films, as utterly shut off from
London as the German army.
I was held up there for three days, during which
time I secured pictures of the steamer Dinorah,
which limped into port after being torpedoed, of a
sailing vessel which had struck a mine, and some
interesting scenes on board French torpedo boat
destroyers as they returned from patrolling the
I spent most of my time hanging around the docks,
ready to rush on board any steamer that touched
af an English port. At last I heard of one that would
start af midnight. My films were all packed in tins,
sealed with rubber solution to make them absolutely
watertight, and the tins were strung together, so
that in the event of the ship going down I could
have slipped them round my waist. If they went to
the bottom I should go too, but if I was saved I was
determined hot to reach London without them.
As it happened, my adventures were at an end.
We saw nothing of any under-water pirates, and my
trip to the fighting line ended in a prosaic taxi-cab
through London streets that seemed to know
nothing of war.
PART I I
HOW I CAME TO MAKE OFFICIAL WAR PICTURES
I am Appolnted an Official War Office Kinematographer--And Start
for the Front Line Trenches--Filrning the Gerrnan Guns in
Action--With the Canadians--Picturesque Hut Settlement
Among the Poplars--" Hyde Park Corner "--Shaving by
Candlelight in Six Inches of Water--Filrning in Full View of the
German Lines, 75 yards away--A ]3ig Risk, but a Realistic
D URING the early days of the war I worked
more or less as a free lance camera man,
both in Belgium and in France, and it was
hot till the autumn of 1915 that I was appointed an
Official Kinematographer by the War Office, and
was dispatched to the Front to take films, under the
direction of Kinematograph Trade Topical Com-
mittee. When offered the appointment, I did not
take long to decide upon its acceptance. I was
ready and anxious to go, and as I had had consider-
able experience of the work, both in Belgium and in
the Vosges, I knew pretty well what was expected
of me. Numerous interviews with the authorities
and members of the Committee followed, and for a
few days I was kept in a fever of expectation.
Eventually arrangements were completed, and the
announcement was then made that Mr. Tong (of
Jury's Imperial Pictures) and myself had been
appointed Official War Office Kinematographers.
I was in the seventh heaven of delight, and looked
forward to an early departure for the Front in my
official capacity. This came soon enough, and on
the eve of our going Tong and I were entertained to
dinner by the members of the Topical Committee,
52 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
and during the post-prandial talk many interesting
and complimentary things were said.
We left Charing Cross on an early morning in
November, and several members of the Committee
were there to see us off, and wish us God-speed.
We reached the other side safely, after a rather
choppy crossing, and soon I was on my way to the
Front--and the front line trenches, if possible.
Passing through Bailleul, Armentières and Ploeg-
steert, I was able to film some hidden batteries in
action. As the whole road was in full view of the
German lines we had to go very carefully. Several
shells dropped close by me when running across the
open ground. I managed at last to get into a house,
and from a top window, or rather what was once a
window, filmed the guns in action.
While doing so an artillery oflïcer came and told
me not to move too much as the Germans had been
trying to find this battery for some considerable
time, and if they saw any movement they would
undoubtedly start to shell heavily. Not wishing to
draw a cloud of shells on me, needless to say, I was
v.ery careful. Eventually I obtained the desired
vlew, and making my way through the communica-
tion trenches to the front of the guns, I obtained
excellent pictures of rapid firing. I had to keep very
low the whole of the rime. About forty yards on my
right a small working party of out men had been seen,
and they were immediately " strafed."
During the next few days it rained the whole of
the time, and there was little opportunity for photo-
graphy; but I obtained some excellent scenes,
showing the conditions under which out men were
living and fighting, and their indomitable cheer-
About this time I arranged to go to the Canadian
front tienches, in their section facing Messines.
Arriving at the headquarters at Bailleul, I met
"FILE STATE OF "I'HE "I'RENCllES IN .Vlllt'll ..E l IVED AND SI.EI'T (.) I:CR
WEEKS ON END DURING l'lll' FIRSF -ND SEç'«ND ..IN'I'ER OF W..R
C,I'R I)UC.-OtTS IN THE FRNT I INE -'l" PI('ANTIN IN }.VHIClt .VE I IVED.
FO[_IGHI' A\D MAN$" I}IED I}['RINI; IQI4-[ , |IEI-'«'Rl: TIIE I»A''S OF l'IN HAI'S
OFFICIAL WAR PICTURES 53
Lieutenant-Colonel , and we decided to go
straight to the front line. Leaving in a heavy tain,
we splashed out way through one continuous stream
of mud and water. Mile after toile of if. In places
the water covered the entire road, until af rimes one
hardly knew which was the road and which was the
ditch alongside. Several times our car got ditched.
Shell-holes dotted our path everywhere.
Apart from the rotten conditions, the journey
proved most interesting ; vehicles of all kinds, .from
motor-buses fo wheelbarrows, were rushing back-
wards and forwards, taking up supplies and return-
ing empty. Occasionally we passed ambulance cars,
with some poor fellows inside suffering from frost-
bite, or " trench-foot" as it is generally called out
here. Though their feet were swathed in bandages,
and they were obviously in great pain, they bore up
like true Britons. Line after line of men passed us.
Those coming from the trenches were covered in mud
from head fo foot, but they were all smiling, and
they swung along with a word and a jest as if they
were marching down Piccadilly. Those going in to
take their places : were they gloomy ? Not a bit of
it! If anything they were more cheerful, and
quipped their mud-covered comrades on their
We drew up af a ruined farm-house, which the
Colonel told me used to be their head.quarters, until
the position was given away by sples. Then the
Germans started shelling if until there was hardly a
brick standing. Luckily none of the staff were killed.
Leaving the farm, we made our way on foot fo
Ploegst.eert Wood. A terrible amount of " strafing "
was gomg on here. Shells were exploding all round,
and our guns were replying with " interest." As we
made out way cautiously up fo the side of the wood,
with mud half way up fo our knees, we scrambled,
or rather waddled, round the base of the much-
54 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
contestedhill, which the Germans tried their hardest
to keep, but which, thanks to the Canadians, we
wrested from them.
Under cover of canvas screens, which in many
places were blown away by shell-fire, and bending
low to save out heads from the snipers' bullets, we
gained the communication trenches. Again wading
knee-deep in mud and water, we eventually reached
the firing trench.
The German front line was only sixty-five yards
away, and the town of Messines could be seen in the
Staying in this section of trench, I filmed several
scenes of the men at work ropairing and rebuilding
the sides which the night previou.s had been destroyed
by shell-fire and the heavy rares. Then followed
scenes of relief prties coming in, and working
parties hard at it trying to drain their dug-outs.
This latter seemed to me an almost superhuman
task ; but through it all, the men smiled. Bending
low, I raced across an open space, and with a
jump landed in an advanced sniper's post, in a
ruined farm-house. I filmed him, carefully and
coolly picking off the Germans foolish enough to
show their heads.
Then I set my camera up behind what I thought
quite a safe screen, to film a general view of our
front line, but I had hardly started exposing when,
with murderous little shrieks, two bullets whizzed
close by my head--quite as near as I shall ever want
them. Dropping as low as possible, I reached up,
and still turning the handle finished the scene.
Then followed several pictures of scouts and snipers
making their way across the ground, taking ad-
vantage of any slight cover they could get, in order
to take up suitable positions for their work.
By this time the light was getting rather bad, and
as it was still raining liard I ruade my way back.
OFFICIAL WAR PICTURES 55
During the return j ourney, an officer who accom-
panied me showed himself unknowingly above the
parapet, and " zipp " came a bullct, vhich ripped
one of the stars off his coat.
" Jove!" said he, with the greatest of sang-froid,
" that's a near thing ; but it's spoilt my shoulder-
strap " " and with a laugh we went on out way.
Again we had to cross the open ground to the
covered way. Accordingly we spread out about
fifty yards apart, and proceeded. Careful as we were,
the Germans spotted us, and from thence onwards
to the top of the hill shrapnel shells burst all round
us and overhead. Several pieces fcll almost at my
feet, but by a miracle I escaped unscathed.
For some minutes I had tolie crouching in a ditch,
sitting in water. It was a veritable inferno of tire.
I cautiously worked my way along. Where the test
of the party had gone I did not know. I hugged my
camera to my chest and staggered blindly on. In
about hall an hour I gained the cover of some bushes,
and for the first rime had a chance to look about me.
The firing had momentarily ceased, and from various
ditches I saw the heads of the other officers pop out.
The sight was too funny for words. With a hearty
laugh they jumped up and hurried away. My
chauffeur, who incidentally used to carry my tripod,
was the most sorry spectacle for he was absolutely
covered from head to foot with clay, and m¥ tripod
was quite unrecognisable. Hurrying over the top of
the hill we gained out cars, and rapidly beat a retreat
The following day I went to film the ruins of
Richebourg St. Vaaste. What an awful spectacle!
A repetition of the horrors of Ypres on a smaller
scale. Nothing leff, only the bare skeletons of the
houses and the church. With great diffictllty, I
managed to climb to the top of the ruined tower,
and filmed the town from that point. I was told by
56 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
an observation officer to keep low, as the Germans
had the church still under tire. Naturally I did so,
hot wishing for a shell that might bring the tower
down, and myself with it.
Remarkable to relate, the figure of Christ upon
the Cross was untouched in the midst of this terrible
scene of devastation. Subsequently the tower was
completely destroyed by German shells.
Hearing that the Canadian guns were going to
bombard Petite Douve, a large farmstead which the
Germans had fortified with machine-guns and snipers,
I started off from headquarters in the company of a
lieutenant-colonel and a captain. A few passing
remarks on the conditions of the road as we went
along to Hill 63 will be interesting. No matter
where one looked there was mud and water. In
several places the roads were flooded to a depth of
six inches, and out cars several times sank above the
front axle in hidden shell-holes. The whole district
was pitted with them. Entire sections of artillery
were stuck in the mud on the roadside, and all the
efforts of the men failed to move them.
All around us hidden guns, 4"5 and 9.2, were
hurtling their messengers of death with a monotonous
regularity. Passing a signpost, marked " Hyde Park
Corner," which looked incongruous in such a place,
we entered Ploegsteert Wood. But what a change !
If was as if one had suddenly left France and dropped
unceremoniously into the western woods of America,
in the rimes of the old pioneers. By the wood-side,
as far as one could see, stretched a series of log-huts.
To the right the saine scene unfolded itself. Out
cars came to a stop. Then I had a chance to study
the settings more closely.
What a picture ! Amidst all the glamour of war,
these huts, surrounded by tall poplars, which stood
grim, gaunt and leafless--in many places branchless,
owing to the enemies' shells, which tore their way
OFFICIAL WAR PICTURES 57
through them--presented the most picturesque
scene I had corne across for many a long day.
Upon the boards fixed over the doorposts were
written the names of familiar London places. As
the rime of the bombardment was draving near I
could hot stay at the moment to film anything,
but decided to do so at an early opportunity.
Sharing my apparatus with two men, we started
climbing through eighteen inches of slimy mud
towards the top of Hill 63. The effort was almost
backbreaking. At last we got through and paused,
under cover of the ruins of an old château, to gain
breath. To negotiate the top needed care as it was
in full view of the German front. I went first with
the Captain, and both of us kept practically doubled
up, and moved on all fours. The men behînd us
waited until we had covered about one hundred
yards, then they followed. We decided to make for
a point in the distance which was at one rime a
grand old château. Now it was nothing more than
a heap of rubble. We waited for the remainder of
the party to corne up before proceeding, the idea
being that in case either of us was hit by shrapnel,
or picked off by a sniper, no rime would be lost in
Resting awhile, we again proceeded in the same
order as before. We were held up by a sentry, and
warned to take to the communication trenches down
the hill, as German snipers had been picking off men
in the working parties the whole of the morning, and
shrapnel was continually bursting overhead. We
entered the trench, and as usual sank up to out knees
How in the world we got through it I don't know !
Every rime I lifted my foot it seemed as though the
mud would suck my knee-boot off. After going
along in this way for about three hundred yards,
and occasionally ducking my head fo avoid being hit
58 HOW I FILMEZ) THE WAR
by bursting shells, we came fo a ruinecl barn. The
cellars hacl been converted, with the aid of a good
supply of sandbags, into a miniature fort. A sloping
tunnel led to the interior, and the Captain going in
front, we entered.
There by the light of a candle, and standing in a
goocl six inches of water, was a captain shaving him-
self. This officer the previous week had led his party
of bombers into the German trenches, killecl over
thirty and capturecl twelve, and only sufferecl one
casualty. For this action he was awarclecl the D.S.O.
I was introducecl, and sitting on the edge of a bench
we chattecl until the others came up. A few minutes
later the Colonel entered.
We then startecl off in single file clown the other
side of Hill 63. I hacl fo take advantage of any bit
of cover that offerecl itself cluring the clescent. At
one point we had fo cross an open space between a
ruinecl farm and a barn. The Germans hacl several
snipers who concentratecl on this point, and there
was consiclerable risk in getting across. Bencling low,
however, I started, and when half-way over I heard
the whistle of a bullet overheacl. I clroppecl fiat and
crawlecl the remainder of the distance, reaching cover
Af that moment out big guns started shelling the
German trenches, and knowing that the diversion
would momentarily occupy the snipers' attention
the others raced safely across in a bocly. The re-
mainder of the j ourney was made in comparative
safety, the only danger being from exploding shrapnel
overhead. But one cloes not trouble very much
about that after a rime. Reaching the front trenches,
I ruade my way along fo a point from which I could
best view the Petite Douve. Obtaining a waterproof
sheet we carefully raisecl it very, very slowly above
the parapet with the aicl of a couple of bayonets.
Without a doubt, I thought, the Germans woulcl be
OFFICIAL WAR PICTURES 59
sure to notice something different on that section
after a few seconds. And soit proved. Two rifle-
shots rang out from the enemy trench, and right
through the sheet they went.
Our object in putting up this temporary screen
was to hide the erection of my tripod and camera,
and then at the moment the bombardment began
it was to be taken away, and I would risk the test.
Just when the bullets came through I was bending
to fasten the tripod legs. A few seconds earlier and
one or other of them would have surely round my
head. Getting some sandbags, we carefully pushed
them on to the parapet, in order to break the contact
as much as possible, and we put one in front of the
camera in a direct line to cover the movement of my
hand while exposing. I was now ready. Raising
my head above the parapet for a final look, I noticed
I was fully exposed to the right German trenches,
and was just on the point of asking Captain if
there was any possibility of getting sniped from that
direction when with a "zipp " a bullet passed directly
between out heads. Having obtained such a practical
and prompt answer to my enquiry, though hot
exactly the kind I had expected, I had some more
sandbags placed, one on top of the other, to shdter
my head as much as possible.
All I had to do now was to focus, and to do that I
lifted the bottom edge of the screen gently. In a
few seconds it was done, and dropping the screen,
I waited for the first shot. I was warned by an
observing officer that I had still rive minutes to spare.
They were not bombarding until 2.15. German
shells were continually dropping all round. The
part of the hill down which we came was getting
quite a lively time of it. The enemy seemed to be
searching every spot. On the ri.ght a Canadian sniper
was at work, taking careful alto. Turning to me,
60 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
" Wall, sir, I ber that chap won't want any more
The remark caused a good deal of laughter.
Boom--boom--boom. In rapid succession came
two shells from out guns. Every one was alert. I
sprang to my camera. Two men were standing by
me, ready to take down the screen. Boom came
another shell, and ata sign the men dropped the
I was exposed to the full view of the German lines,
from my shoulders.upwards.
I started exposmg; the shells came in rapid
succession, dropping right in the middle of the
Pctite Douve. As they fcll clouds of bricks and
other d6bris were thro»vn in the air; the din was
terrific. Nothing in the world could possibly have
lived there. After about thirty shells had been
dropped there was a slight pause for about hall a
minute, during which I continued turning the
handle. The Germans were too occupied in getting
under cover to notice the fine target my head offered,
for hot a single shot was fired af me.
Once more our guns rang out, and in as many
seconds--at least soit seemed to me--another thirty
shells dropped into the buildings and tore them wall
from wall. Word was then passed to me that this
was the finishing salvo.
With the saine suddenness as it had begun, the
firing ceased. Dropping quickly, and draggin.g the
camera after me, I stood safely once more m the
bottom of the trench and, to tell the truth, I was
glad it was over. To put one's head above the
parapet of a trench, with the Germans only seventy-
rive yards away, and to take a kinematograph
picture of a bombardment, is not one of the wisest--
or safest--things to do !
CHRISTMAS DAY AT THE FRONT
Leave-taking af Charing Cross--A Fruitless Search for Food on
Christmas Eve--How Tommy Wclcomcd the Coming of the
Festive Season--" Peace On Earth. Good Will To Men" fo the
Boom of the Big Guns--Filming the Guards' Division--And the
Prince of Walesming from a Christmas Service--This Ycar
N December 23rd I met an officer, a captain,
af Charing Cross Station. We were leaving
by the 8.50 train, and we were not the only
ones fo leave Christmas behind, for hundreds of men
were returning fo the Front. Heartbreaking scenes
were taking place, and many of the brave women-
folk were stifling their sobs, in order to give their
men a pleasant send-off, possibly for the last rime.
Amidst hurried good-byes and fond kisses from
mothers, sisters, sweethearts and wives, and with
shouts of good luck from hundreds of throats, the
train started off. Handkerchiefs were waved from
many windows, cheerful heads were thrust out, and
not until the train had cleared the platform, and the
"hurrahs " had faded away in the distance, did we
take our seats. Then wffh set faces, grim with
determination, we resigned ourselves to the fate that
awaited us on the battlefields of France. Reaching
Boulogne, after a rather choppy voyage, our car
conv.eyed us to G.H.Q., which we reached late in the
The tollowing morning I was told to leave for La
Gorgue, 4o film seenes connected with the Guards'
Division. Late that afternoon, the Captain and
62 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
I set out for our destination, reaching there about
8 o'clock. I was billeted in a private bouse, and
immediately enquired for some food, but it was
impossible fo obtain any there. Going out I walked
through the town, in the hope of finding a place fo
get something. But none could be round. Feeling
very tired, I began to retrace my steps, with the
intention of going fo bed.
On my way back I had reason to change my mind.
Quite an interesting scene unfolded itself. The boom
of the guns rang out sharp and clear. The moon was
shining brightly, and at intervals there flashed across
the sky the not-Iar-distant glare of star-shells. In
the bouses, lining both sides of the road, there was
music, from the humble mouth-o.rga.n to the piano,
and lusty British voices were smglng old English
tunes with the enthusiasm of boyhood.
On the pavement clusters of our Tommies were
proceeding towards their billets, singing heartily at
the top of their voices. Some batches were singing
carols, others the latest favourites, such as " Keep
the Home Fires Burning."
No marrer where one went, the saine conditions
and the saine sounds prevailed ; just happy-go-lucky
throngs, filled with the songs and laughter born of
the spirit of Christmas. And yet as I reached my
room, despite the scenes of joyousness and hilarity
rampant, I could still hear the crash of the guns.
This was my second Christmas at the Front,
although hot in the same district. Last year I was
with the brave Belgian army. This year was
certainly very different in all.respects except the
weather, and that was as polsonous as ever. A
miserable, misty, drifting rain, which would soak
through fo the skin in a tew minutes anyone hot
provided with a good rainproof. Donning my
Burberry, I proceeded towards a small chapel, or
rather fo a building which is now used as one. It
THF. PRINCE c')F" %V.-XLFS IIAVING A "I'F;MI'CRAR¥ t'IIUR(_']I -l" I_.X tORt:ltF.,
XMA.S IXY. 191.ç
CHRISTMAS DAY AT THE FRONT 63
was originally a workshop. On three sides if was
entirely surrounded by the floods. The front door
was just clear, but I had fo paddle through Inud half-
way up fo Iny knees fo get there. I intended fo
obtain a filin of the Guards' Division attending the
Fixing up my cainera, I awaited their arrival.
After a short tiine they caine along, headed by their
band. What a fine body of Inen! Swinging along
with firin stride, they caine past. Thinking I had
got sufficient I packed Iny cainera, when, fo Iny
astonishinent, I saw the Prince of Wales, with Lord
Cavan, coining up at the rear. Rushing back to Iny
old position, I endeavoured to fix up again, to film
them coining in, but I was too late. " Anyway,"
I thought, " I vill get him coming out."
Fixing up Iny Inachine at a new and advantageous
point of view, I waited. The service began. I could
hear the strains of the old, old carols and Christinas
hymns. Surely one could not have heard thein
under stranger conditions, for as the sound of that
beautiful carol, "Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men !"
swelled froin the throats of several hundreds of our
troops, the heavy guns thundered out round after
round with increasing intensity. Strange that at
such a Inoinent so terrific a boinbardinent should
have taken place. It seeins as if soine strange tele-
pathic influence was at work, coininanding all the
guns in the vicinity to open tire wîth redoubled fury.
And high in the air, our steel " birds " were hover-
ing over the eneiny lines, directing the tire, and
flecked all round thein, like flakes of SHOW, was the
smoke from the shrapnel shells fired on them by the
" Peace on earth, good will to Inen," caine the
strains of Inusic froin the little church. Crash!
went the guns again and again, throwing their
shrieking Inass of metal far overhead. I fell into a
64 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
deep reverie, and my thoughts naturally strayed fo
those af home.
Returning fo my room, I donned my thick woollen
coat, as I intended fo rush off fo G.H.Q. fo see
Tong, who had got a bad attack of dysentery,
and try and cheer him up. Getting into my car, I
told the chauffeur fo drive like the wind. I had
fifty kilometres fo go. Away we rushed through the
night, and as we went through villages where out
Tommies were billeted, the strains of the old home
songsIrish, Scotch and English--were wafted fo
my ears. Except for the incessant shelling, the flash
of guns, and the distant glare from the star-shells,
if was almost impossible fo believe we were in the
terrible throes of war. I arrived af G.H.Q. about
Poor Tong was very queer and feeling dejected.
Not being able fo speak French, he could not let the
people of the hotel know what he wanted. I soon
made him as comfortable as possible, and sat beside
his bed chatting about this, the strangest Christmas
Day I had ever experienced. After remaining with
him for about an hour and a half, I again started for
the front line, where I arrived about i a.m., dog-tired,
and af once turned in.
So ended my second Christmas Day af the Front,
and, as I dozed off fo sleep, I found myself wondering
whether the next Christmas would find me still in
France. Should I be listening fo carols and guns
af the Front, or would the message of the bells peal
from a church in an adjacent street af home,
and announce the coming of another Christmas fo
me and mine ?
I GET INTO A WARM CORNER
]3oxing Day--]3ut No Pantomime--Lire in the Trenches--A Smper
at Work--Sinking a Mine Shaft--The Cheery Influence of an
Irish Padre--A Cemetery ]3ehind the Lines--Pathetic Inscrip-
tions and Mementoes on Dead Heroes' Graves--I Get Into a
Pretty Warm Corner--And Have Some Difficulty in Getting Out
Again--But All's Well that Ends Well.
B OXING DAY! But nothing out of the
ordinary happened. I filmed the Royal
Welsh Fusiliers en route for the trenches.
As usual, the weather was impossible, and the troops
came up in motor-buses. At the sound of a whistle,
they formed up in line and stopped, and the men
scrambled out and stood to attention by the road-
side. They were going to the front line. They gave
me a parting cheer, and a smile that they knew
would be seen by the people in England--perchance
by their own parents.
I went along the famous La Bassée Road--the most
fiercely contested stretch in that part of the country.
It was literally lined with shell-destroyed houses,
large and small; châteaux and hovels. All had
been levelled to the ground by the Huns. I filmed
various scenes of the Coldstreams, the Irish and the
Grenadier Guards. At the furthermost point of the
road to which cars are allowed shells started to fall
rather heavily, so, not wishing to argue the point
with them, I took cover. When the " strafing "
ceased I filmed other interesting scenes, and then
returned to my headquarters.
The next day was very interesting, and rather
F 6 5
66 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
exciting. I was to go to the front trenches and get
some scenes of the men at work under actual con-
ditions. Proceeding by the Road, I reached the
Croix Rouge crossing, which was heavily " strafed "
the previous day. Hiding the car under cover of a
partly demolished house, and strapping the camera
on my back, my orderly carrymg the tripod, I
started out to walk the remaining distance. I had
not gone far when a sentry advised me hot to proceed
further on the road, but to take to the trench lining
it, as the thoroughfare from this point was in full
view of the German artillery observers. Not wishing
to be shelled unnecessarily, I did as he suggested.
"And don't forger to keep your head down, sir,"
was his last remark. So bending nearly double, I
proceeded. As a further precaution, I kept my man
behind me at a distance of about twenty yards.
Several rimes high explosives and shrapnel came
Presently I came upon a wooden tramway running
at right angles to the road. My instructions were to
proceed along it until I came to " Signpost Lane."
Why it was so dubbed I was unable to discover, but
one thing I was certainly not kept in ignorance of
for long, and that was that it was perpetually under
heavy shell-fire by the Germans. They were
evidently under the impression that it xvas the route
taken by our relief parties going to the trenches at
appointed rimes during the day, and so they fairly
raked it with shell-fire.
Unfortunately I happened to arrive on one of
these occasions, and I knew it. Shells dropped al1
round us. Hardly a square yard of ground seemed
untouched. Under such conditions it was no good
standing. I looked round for cover, but there was
none. The best thing to do under the circumstances
was fo go straight on, trust to Providence, and make
for the communication trenches with all speed. I
I GET INTO A WARM CORNER 67
doubled like a hare over the intervening ground, and
I was glad when I reached the trenches, for once
there, unless a shell bursts directly overhead, or falls
on top of you, the chances of getting hit are very
I was now in the sniping zone, and could con-
tinually hear the crack of a Hun rifle, and the result-
ing thud of a bullet striking the mud or the sand-
bags, first one side then the other. The communica-
tion trenches seemed interminable, and, as we neared
the front line, the mud got deeper and parts of the
trench were quite water-logged.
Plod, plod, plod; section after section, traverse
after traverse. Suddenly I came upon a party of
sappers mending the parapet top with newly filled
sandbags. Af that particular section a shell had
dropped fairly near and destroyed if, and anyone
walking past that gap stood a very good chance of
having the top of his head taken off. These men
were filling up the breach. " Keep your head well
down, sir," shouted one, as I came along. " They "
(meaning the'Germans) " have got this place
i: Down went my head, and I passed the gap safely.
. We were now well up in the firing trench. Fixing
the camera, and the test of the apparatus, I began
taking scenes of actual life and conditions in the
trenches--that mysterious land about which millions
have read but have never had the opportunity of
seeing. No mere verbal description would suffice fo
descÆibe them. Every minute the murderous crack
of rifles and the whir of machine-guns rang out.
Death hovered all round. In front the German
rifles, above the bursting shrapnel, each shell
scattering ifs four hundred odd leaden bullets far
and wide, killing or wounding any_unfortunate man
who happened to be in the way. « .... "
L-The trenches looked as if a giant cataclysm of
HOW I FILMED THE WAR
Nature had taken place. The whole earth had been
upheaved, and in each of the mud-hills men had
burrowed innumerable paths, seven feet deep. It
was hard to distinguish men from mud. The former
were literally caked from head to foot with the
latter. I filmed the men at work. There were
several snipers calmly smoking their cigarettes and
taking careful aire at the enemy.
" Sure, sir," remarked one burly Irish Guardsman,
" and he'll never bob his head up any more.
It's him l've been afther this several hours ! " And
as coolly as if he had been at a rifle range at home,
the man discharged the empty cartridge-case and
stood with his rifle, motionless as a rock, his eyes
like those of an eaglc.
All this rime it was raining hard. I worked my
way along the never-ending traverses. Coming upon
a mount of sandbags, I enquired of an officer present
the nature and cause of its formation. He bade me
follow him. At one corner a narrow, downward path
came into view. Trudging after him, I entered this
strange shelter. Inside it was quite dark, but in a
few seconds, when my eyes had got used to the
conditions, I observed a hole in the centre of the
floor about rive feet square.
Peering over the edge, I sav that the shaft vas
about twenty-fivefeet deep, and that there was a light
at the bottom. It then dawned upon me what if
really was. It was a mine-shaft. At the bottom,
men vorked at their deadly occupation, burrowing
at right angles under our own trenches (under
" No Man's Land '.') and under the German lines.
They laid their mmes, and at the appointed rime
exploded them, thus causing a great amount of
damage fo the enemy's parapets and trenches, and
killing large numbers of the occupants.
Retracing my steps, I fixed the camera up and
I GET INTO A WARM CORNER 69
filmed the men entering the mines and others bring-
ing up the excavated earth in sandbags and placing
them on the outside of the barricade. Then I paused
fo film the men af work upon a trench road. Think-
ing I could obtain a better view from a point in the
distance, I started off for if, bent nearly double,
when a warning shout from an officer bade me be
careful. I reached the point. Although about fifty
yards behind the firing trench, I was under the
impression that I was still sheltered by the parapet.
Evidently I had raised my head too high while fixing
up the tripod, for with a murderous whistle two
bullets " zipped " by overhead. I must be more
careful if I wanted fo get away with a whole skin ;
so bending low, I filmed the scene, and then returned.
While proceeding along the line, I filmed the
regimental padre of the Irish Guards wading through
the mud and exchanging a cheery word with every
man he passed. What a figure he was! Tall and
upright, with a long dark beard, and a voice that
seemed ldnd and cheery enough fo influence even
the dead. He inspired confidence wherever he went.
He stay.ed awhile to talk fo several men who were
sitting m their dug-outs pumping the water out
before they could enter. His words seemed fo make
the men work with redoubled vigour. Then he
Along this section, af the back of the dug-outs,
were innumerable white crosses, leaning af all angles,
in the mud. They were the last resting-place of our
dead heroes. On each cross a comrade had wrfften
a short inscription, and some of these, though simple,
and at rimes badly spelt, revealed a pathos and a
feeling that almost brought tears fo the eyes. For
M1 ifs slime and mud it was the most beautiful
cemetery I bave ever seen. On some of the graves
were a few wildflowers. No wreaths; no marble
headstones; no elaborate ornamentation; but in
70 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
their place a battered cap, a rusty rifle or a mud-
covered haversack, the treasured belongings of the
I had barely finished filming this scene when with
a shriek several shells came hurtling overhead from
the German guns and burst about a hundred yards
behind otr firing line. Quickly adjusting the camera,
I covered the section with my lens. In a few seconds
more shells came over, and turning the handle I
filmed them as they burst, throwing up enormous
quantifies of earth. The Huns were evidently firing
at something. What that something was I soon
round out. An enemy observer had seen a small
working party crossing an open space. The guns
immediately opened tire. Whether they inflicted
any casualties I do hot know, but a few minutes
later the saine party of men passed me as though
nothing had happened.
The rain was still falling, and the mist getting
heavy, so I decided to make my way back to head-
quarters. Packing up, and bidding adieu to the
officers, I started on the return journey through the
communication trenches. One officer told me to go
back the saine way, via " Signpost Lane." " You
will manage to get through before their evening
' strafing,' " he called out. After wearily trudging
through nearly a toile of trenches, I came out at
" Signpost Lane," and I ara never likely to forget
We had left the shelter of the trench, and were
hurrying, nearly doubled, across a field, when a
German observer spotted us. The next minute
" whizzbangs " started falling around us like rain.
No matter which way I turned, the tarnation things
seemed to follow and burst with a deafening crash.
At last, I reached the crossing, and was making my
way down the trench lining the road, when a shell
dropped and exploded hot thirty feet ahead. But
I GET INTO A WARM CORNER 71
on I went, for a miss is as good as a mile. About a
hundred yards further on was the battered shell of
a farm-house. When almost up to if a couple of
shells dropped fairly in the middle of it and showered
the bricks all round. A fairly warm spot !
I had ]ust reached the corner of the building when
I heard the shriek of a shell coming nearer. I guessed
if was pretty close, and without a moment's hesita-
tion dropped in the mud and water of a small ditch,
and not a moment too soon for with a dull thud the
shell struck and burst hardly seven feet from me.
Had I hot fallen down these lines would never bave
been written. Picking myself up, I hurried on.
Still the shells continued fo drop, but fortunately
at a greater distance. When I reached Croix Rouge,
I was literally encased in mud. Our progress along
the road had been anxiously watched by the sentries
and by my chauffeur.
" Well, sir," said the latter, with a sigh of relief,
" I certainly thought they had you that time."
"FHE BATTLEI"IELD OF NEUVE CHAPELLE
A Visit fo the Old German Trcnches--leveals a Scene of Horror
that Dcfies Description--Dodging the Shells--I Lose the Handle
of My Camcra--And then Lose bly Man--The Effect of Shell-fire
on a Novice--In the Village of Ncuve Chapellc--A Scene of
Devastation--The Figure of the Lonely Christ.
I T occurred to me that an interesting film might
be ruade out of scenes of the battlefield of
Neuve Chapelle. The very thought of it
conjured up a reeking, whirling mass of humanity,
fighting with all the most devilish, death-dealing
weapons that had ever been conceived by the mind
of man. I decided to do a picture of the scene, and
took with me an orderly who had never been under
We proceeded along the La Bassée Road, and af
the Croix Rouge proceeded on foot towards Neuve
Chapelle. As usual, Bosche shelling was so consistent
in its intensity that we thought it advisable to
spread out a bit in case a shell burst near us. My
guide was Major , who commanded one of the
regiments holding the ground on the other side of
Eventually I reached the assembly trenches,
where our men concentrated for the great attack.
In shape they were j ust ordinary trenches, branches
off a main gallery, but they were in an awful state
of decay, and literally torn to shreds by shell-fire.
What tales these old sandbags might tell if only they
could speak, tales of our brave boys and our Indian
troops that would live for ever in the history of man-
BATTLEFIELD OF NEUVE CHAPELLE 73
kind. Standing upon one of the parapets, I looked
round, and marvelled that it was possible in so
small a section of ground so many men were hidden
there. Quickly formulating my programme, I
decided to begin at the assembly trenches, and
follow in imagination the path of the troops during
the battle, ending up in the ruins of Neuve Chapelle
village itself, which I could see in the distance.
" Be careful," came the warning voice of a major,
" the whole of the ground here is in view of the
Bosche artillery observers. If they see anyone mov-
ing about they'll start 'strafing' like anything,
and I assure you they do it very conscientiously."
I therefore kept as low as possible.
Fixing up the camera, I started to film the scenes
from the assembly trenches to the old first line
trench, and then into the stretch of ground known
as "No Man's Land." Finishing this particular
picture, we went along to the old German trenches,
and during the whole time we bent nearly double,
to keep under the line of the old parapets. In the
old German trenches the frightful effect of modcrn
shell-fire was only too apparent. The whole line,
as far as one could see, was absolutely smashed to
atoms. Only the bases of the parapets were left,
and in the bottom of the trenches was an accumula-
tion of water and filth. It was a disgusting sight.
The whole place was littered with old German equip-
ment, and whilst wading and splashing along through
the water I saw such things, and such stenches
assailed my nostrils, as I shall hot easily forget.
Dotted all over the place, hall in and hall out of the
mud and water, were dead bodies.
But why recount the horrors of the scene ?
Imagine the sights and the smell. How I got
through that section of trench Heaven only knows.
It was simply ghastly.
To escape from the scene I hurried to the end of
74 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
the trench and again crossed " No Man's Land."
The sight here was not so bad as in the trenches.
To obtain a good view of the spot I got up very
gingerly on top of the parapet, fixed the machine,
and filmed the scene. But this enterprise nearly
put an end fo my adventure, and also to the other
rnernbers of the party. I had finished taking, and had
got my camera down on the stand, in the bottom of
the trench, and was on the point of unscrewing if,
when two shells came hurtling overhead and ex-
ploded about forty feet away. The Major ran up to
me and shouted that I had been seen, and told me
fo take cover at once. He and the others, suiting
the action to the word, dived below the parapets.
Snatching the camera off its stand, I followed, and
paddled as close as possible fo the mud. The shells
began falling in quick succession. Nearer and nearer
they came. Some just cleared the parapet top ; some
burst in front, some immediately behind.
" They have got our line; let's shift along
further," some one said.
From one point of the trench to the other we
dodged. The shells seemed fo follow us wherever
we went. Crash ! One struck the crumbling parapet
on the very spot where, a few seconds before, I had
been sheltering. In the rush for cover I had lost the
handle of the camera, and as if was the only one I
had there, I began fo work my way back fo find if.
" Don't be a fool," called the Major. " If you
show yourself they'll have you, as sure as eggs are
eggs." But my anxiety fo obtain pictures of the
bursting shells was too much for me. I set to fo
make a handle of wood. Looking round, I spotted
an old tree-trunk, behind which I could take cover.
Doubling towards it, I crouched down, and finding
a piece of wood and an old nail I fashioned a handle
of a sort.
At this moment a funny incident occurred. I had
BAT-T-LEFiED OF NEVg CHAPELLE 75
momentarily forgotten the existence of the other
members of the party. I was hoping against hope
that they had escaped injury. What had happened
to them ? Where were they ? It almost seemed as
if my thoughts were communicated by telepathy to
one of them, for just above the parapet in Iront of me
rose the head of Captain --
"I say, Malins," he said, " did you find your
handle ? "'
The words were barely out of his mouth when a
shell shot by. Captain 's head went down like
a iack-in-the-box. The sight was too funny for
words. If he hadn't ducked the shell would bave
taken his head off, for if struck the ground and
exploded, as we found out afterwards, only ten feet
For three-quarters of an hour this " strafing "
continued, then giving Bosche ten minutes to settle
down we came out of our holes and corners. What
sights we were!
Collecting my apparatus, I again crossed " No
Man's Land," and carefully made my way into the
village of Neuve Chapelle itsclf. To describe it
would only be to repeat what I said of the devastated
city of Ypres. There was nothing whole standing.
The place was smashed and ground down out of all
recognition. And yet, from its solitary high position
upon the cross, the figure of Christ looked down upon
the scene. It was absolutely untouched. It stood
there--this sacred emblem of our Faith--grim and
gaunt against the sky. A lonely sentinel. The scene
was a sermon in itself, and mere words fail to describe
the deep impression it made upon me.
FILMING THE PRINCE OF WALES
How I Marie a" Hide-up "--And Secured a Fine Picture of the Prince
Inspccting some Gun-pits--His Anxiety fo Avoid the Camcra--
And His Subsequent Remarks--How a German Block-house was
I31own to Smithereens--And the Way I Managed to Film if
T O-DAY has certainly been most interesting,
and not without excitement. I was to film
the bombardment of a concrete German
block-house from the Guards' trenches at
Previous to starting out from news came
throug.h from headquarters that the Prince of Wales
was golng to inspect some guns with Lord Cavan.
The staff officer who told me this knew the trouble
I had previously experienced in trying to obtain
good films of the Prince, and warned me to be very
careful. I enquired the time of his arrival at the
gun-pits. So far as I could ascertain, it was to be at
11.3o a.m. I therefore decided to be there half an
hour earlier, and make a " hide-up " for myself and
camera. I was determined to succeed this time.
Proceeding by way of , which place has suffered
considerable bombardment, the church and surround-
ing buildings having been utterly destroyed, I stayed
awhile to film the interior and exterior of the church,
and so add another to the iniquitous record of the
Bosche for destroying everything held sacred.
A short distance outside the town I came upon
the gun positions, and crossing a field--or rather
shall I say a mud-pond, for the mud very nearly
reached my knees--I selected a point of vantage at
FILMING THE PRINCE OF WALES 77
one side of a hedge which ran at right angles to the
gun-pits. There was only one path fit to traverse,
and getting hold of an officer, I asked him if we
could so arrange it that the Prince started from the
further end of the path and came towards camera.
He said he would try. Fixing up the camera, I got
in front of the hedge facing the path, and completely
hid all signs of the machine with bracken and
branches of trees. Pushing the lens well through
the hedge, I ripped open an old sandbag, cut a hole
in it and hung it on the hedge, with my lens pointing
through.. By such means it was quite impossible for
anyone in front to see either myself or the camera,
and having completed my preparations, I settled
down to patiently await the arrival of the Prince.
In about hall an hour he came along with Lord
Cavan, a gencral, and other officers of the staff.
True to his promise, Captain got the Prince to
follow the path I had indicated. When he arrived
at the further end of the row of guns, I started film-
ing. He came direct towards the camera, but when
within fifteen feet of it the noise of handle turning
attracted his attention. He stood fully fifteen
seconds gazing in my direction, evidently wondering
what it was on the other side of the hedge. Then he
passed out of range. I hurried across the field with
my aeroscope (an automatic camera), and stood at
the end of the path waiting for him to pass.
In a few moments he came along, and I started
filming. The smiles of the staff officers were pleasing
to behold. One of them remarked to the Prince
that it was quite impossible to escape this time. As
he passed inside the farm-house, I heard him remark :
" That was the man I tried to dodge on Christmas
Day. How did he know I was coming here ? Who
told him ? " The enquiry was followed by some
good-natured laughter, and feeling satisfied with my
work, I hurried away.
78 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
I had now to proceed to the front line trenches,
taking the car, as far as possible, along the road. I
had hidden it under cover of some ruined buildings,
and taking the camera, and bidding my chauffeur
bring the tripod, I started out. A captain conducted
me. We quickly got to the communication trenches.
As usual, a good deal of " strafing " was going on,
and the German snipers were vcry busy. When we
reached the first line firing trenches, I peered over
the parapet through a periscope, but round I was too
far south of the block-house. So I proceeded higher
up, and about eight hundred yards further on came
a traverse, which I had chosen, and the loophole
through which I was going to film the scene. The
distance to the German block-house from where I
was standiag was about xSo yards.
The thickness of the parapet, I should say, was
roughly four feet; and through the parapet vas a
conical, square-shaped, wooden cylinder. In front,
under cover of darkness, the night previous, I had
had two sandbags placed, so that when everything
was ready, and my camera fixed, a slight push from
the back with a stick would shift them clear of the
opening. Fixing up the camera, I very carefully
pinned an empty sandbag over the back of the
aperture, with the object of keeping any daylight
from streaming through. I placed a long stick
ready to push the sandbags down. I intended doing
that after the first shell had fallen.
This particular loophole had been severely sniped
all the morning, the Germans evidently thinking it
was a new Maxim-gun emplacement. Time was
drawing near. I thought I would try vith the stick
whether the sandbags would fall easily. Evidently
I gave them too vigorous a push, for the next moment
they came toppling down. Knowing such a move-
ment as that was certain fo attract the German
snipers' attention, I quickly ducked my head down
FILMING THE PRINCE OF WALES 79
and hoped our 9-2's would soon open tire. I did hot
relish the idea of having a bullet through my camera.
Sure enough the Germans had seen the movement,
for bullets began battering into sandbags around the
loophole. At that moment the C.O. withdrew the
whole of the men from that section of the trench,
and I was left alone. But the prospect of getting a
fine film drove all other thoughts ff'oto my mind.
A few minutes later the first shell came hurtling
over and exploded within ten yards of the block-
house. I started filming. Shell after shell I recorded
as it exploded, first on one side then on the other,
until at last the eighth shell fell directly on top of the
block-house, and with a tremendous explosion the
whole fabric disappeared in a cloud of smoke and
flame. Debfis of every description rattlcd in the
trench all round me, and continued to fall for some
moments, but luckily I was hot hit. Being unable
to resist the temptation of looking over the parapet,
I jumped up and gazed at the remains of the building
which now consisted of nothing more than a twisted,
churned-up mass of concrete and iron rails. Our
artillery had done its work, and done it well.
MY FIRST VISIT TO YPRES AND ARRAS
Greeted on Arrival in the 1Ruined City of Ypres by a Furious Fusillade
--I Film the Cloth I-IalI and Cathedral, and Have a Narrow
Escape--A Once 13eautiful Town Now Littlc More Than a
Heap of Ruins---Arras a City of the Dead--Its Cathedral
Destroyed--I3ut Cross and Crucifixcs Unharmed.
T O Ypres! This was the order for the day.
The news gave me a thrill of excitement.
The thunder of the big guns grew louder
as we approached the front line, until they seemed
fo merge into one continuous roar.
Stopping on the road, I asked if the Germans
were " strafing " to-day.
" Yes," said one of out military police, " they were
shelling us pretty heavily this morning: you will
have fo be very careful moving about inside. Bosche
machines are always up in the air, taking bearings
for the guns."
Arriving af the outskirts of the ruined town, we
were pulled up by a sentry, who, finding out papers
in order, allowed us to proceed. Af that moment a
furious fusillade of gun-fire attracted our attention,
and three shr;ll blasts of a whistle rang out; then
we heard a cry, " Every one under cover ! " Stop-
ping the car, I immediately jumped out, and stood
under cover of a broken-down wall, and looking up,
could see the cause of this activity.
High in the air, about eight fo ten thousand feet,
was a Bosche aeroplane, and while I was watchhg
it shrapnel shells from out anti-aircraft guns were
YPRES AND AIIAS 8
exploding round it like rain. A great number were
fired at it. The whole sky was flecked with white
and black patches of smoke, but hot one hit was
recorded. The machine seemed to sail through that
inferno as if nothing were happening, and at last it
disappeared in the haze over its own lines. Only
then were we allowed to proceed.
I had made a rough programme of what to film,
and decided to start from the Grand Place. In a
few words, I may say that I filmed the Place from
the remains of the Cloth Hall, the Cathedral, and
various districts of the town, but to try and describe
the awful condition of what was once the most
beautiful town in Belgium would be to attempt
the impossible. No pen, and no imagination, could
do justice to it. The wildest dreams of Dante
could hot conjure up such terrible, such awful
The immensity of the outrage gripped me perhaps
more completely when I stood upon the heap of
rubble that was once the most beautiful piece of
architecture of ris kind in all the world. The Cloth
Hall, and the Cathedral, looked exactly as if some
mighty scythe had swept across the ground, level-
ling everything in ifs path. The monster Is-inch
German shells had dismembered and torn open the
buildings brick by brick. Confusion and devastation
reigned everywhere, no marrer in what direction you
looked. It was as if the very heavens and the
earth had crashed together, crushing everything
between them out of al1 semblance to what it had
The ground was literally pock-marked dth enemy
shell-holes. The stench of decaying bodies followed
me everywhere. At times the horror of if all seemed
to freeze the understanding, and it was difficult to
realise that one was part and parcel of this world of
ours. Literally, horror was piled upon horror. And
82 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
this was the twentieth century of which men boasted ;
this was civilisation! Built by men's hands, the
result of centuries of work. Now look at them;
those beautiful architectural monuments, destroyed,
in a few months, by the vilest spawn that ever
contaminated the earth. A breed that should and
would be blotted out of existence as effectively as
they had blotted out the town of Ypres.
Beneath one large building lay buried a number
of our gallant soldiers, who were sheltering there,
wounded. The position was given away by spies,
with the result that the Germans poured a concen-
trated tire of shells upon the helpless fellows, and the
shelling was so terrific that the whole building
collapsed and buried every living soul beneath the
As I stood upon the heap tears came into my eyes,
and the spirits of the brave lads seemed to call out
for vengeance. And even as I stood and pondered,
the big guns rang out, the very concussion shaking
bricks and dust upon me as I stood there. While
filming the scene, German shells came hurtling and
shrieking overhead, exploding just behind me and
scattering the debris of the ruins high above and
whizzing in my direction.
To obtain a good view-point, I clambered upon a
mount of bricks nearly fifty feet high, all that was
left of the Cathedral Tower. From that eminence
I could look right down into the interior, and I
succeeded in taking an excellent film of it. While
doing so, two German shells exploded a short dis-
tance away. Whether it was the concussion or pieces
of shell that struck it, I do not know--probably the
latter--but large pieces of stone and granite fell at
my feet, and one piece hit my shoulder. So I quickly
ruade my way to more healthy quarters, and even
as I left the shells overhead began to shriek with
redoubled fury, as if the very legions of hell were
YPRES AND ARRAS
moaning, aghast at the terrible crime which the
fiendish Huns had perpetrated.
Arras, although hot by any means as badly
damaged as Ypres, is one of the most historical and
beautiful places systematically destroyed by the
Germans. The Cathedral, the wonderful 1V[useum,
the Hôtel de Ville, once the pride of this broken city,
are now no more. Arras provides yet another
blasting monument of the unspeakable methods of
warfare as practised by the descendants of Attila,
the Hun. The city was as silent as the tomb when
I visited it. It was dead in every sense of the word ;
a place only fit for the inhabitants of the nether
world. Only when the German shells came scream-
ing overhead with unearthly noise, in an empty
street, was the silence broken in this city of the
I visited the ruined Cathedral, and filmed various
scenes of the interior and extefior, having to climb
over huge mounds of falle-n masonry fo obtain my
best view-points. In places all that was lcft standing
was the bare walls. The huge columns, with their
beautiful sculptures, no longer able to support the
roof, still stood like gfim sentinels watching over
their sacred charge.. And yet, despite the unholy
bombardment to which the building had been sub-
i ected, three things remained unharmed and un-
touched in the midst of this scene of awful desola-
tion. The three crucifixes, with the figures of Christ
still upon them, gazed down upon this scene of
horror. And high upon the topmost joint of the
south wall stood the cross, the symbol of Christianity
--unharmed. The united endeavours of the Powers
of Evil could not dislodge that sacred emblem from
its topmost pinnacle.
I left the Cathedral and walked along the grass-
covered streets, pock-marked by innumerable shell-
holes, and every now and then I had to dive into
HOW I FILMED THE WAR
some cellar for shelter from falling shells. At the
Hôtel de Ville the same sight presented itself. The
bombardment had reduced its walls to little more
than a tottering shell, which fell to pieces at the
THE BATTLE OF ST. ELOI
Filming Within Forty-five Yards of the German Trenches--Watch-
ing for " Minnies "--Officers' Quarters--" Something " Bcgins
to Happen--An Early Morning ]3ombardment--Develops Into
the Battle of St. EloiWhich I Film trom Out First-Line
Trench---And Obtain a Fine Picture.
A BOMBARDMENT was to take place. A
rather vague statement, and a comlnon
enough occurrence; but not so this one.
I had a dira idea--not without foundation, as it
turned out--that there was more in this particular
bombardment than appeared on the surface. Why
this thought crossed my mind I do not know.
But there it was, and I also felt that it would
somehow turn out seriously for me before I had
I was to go fo a certain spot to sec a general--and
obtain permission to choose a good view-point for
my machine. My knowledge of the topography
of this particular part of the line was none too
Reaching the place I met the General, who said,
in a jocular way, when I had explained my mission :
" Have you corne to me to-day by chance, or have
you heard something ? "
This remark, " Had I heard something ? " con-
firmed my opinion that something was going to
happen. Without more ado, the General told me
the bombardment would take place on the morrow,
somew? ere about 5.30 a.m.
86 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
" In that case," I said, " it will be quite impossible
to obtain any photographs. Anyway," I added,
"if you will permit me, sir, I will sleep in the front
line trenches to-night, and so be ready for anything
that may happen. I could choose a good spot for
my machine this afternoon."
" Well," he replied, " it's a hot corner," and going
to the section maps he told me out front line was
only forty-five yards away from the Bosche. "You
will, of course, take the risk, but, honestly speaking,
I don't expect to see you back again."
This was anything but cheerful, but being used to
tight corners I did hot mind the risk, so long as I got
some good films.
The General then gave me a letter of introduction
to another general, who, he said, would give me ail
the assistance he could. Armed with this document,
I started out in company of a staff officer, who was
fo guide me to the Brigade headquarters. Arriving
there (it was the most advanced point to which cars
were allowed to go), I obtained two orderlies, gave
one my aeroscope the other the tripod, and strapping
another upon my back, we started off on a two-rnile
walk over a small hill, and through communication
trenches fo the section.
Af a point which boasted the naine of " Cooker
Farm," which consisted of a few dug-outs, well
below ground level, and about rive by six feet high
inside by seven feet square, I interviexved two officers,
who 'phoned to the front line, telling them of my
arrival. They wished me all good luck on my
venture, and gave me an extra relay of men to get
me to the front. A considerable amount of shelling
was going on overhead, but none, fortunately,
came in my immediate neighbourhood. The nearest
was about fifty yards away.
From out front line trenches the Bosche lines were
only forty-five yards away, therefore dangers were
THE BATTLE OF ST. ELOI 87
tobe anticipated from German snipers. A great
many of out men had actually been shot through
the loophole of plates. I immediately reported my-
self fo the officer in charge, who was resting in a dug-
out, built in the parapet. He was pleased fo see me,
and promised me every assistance. I told him I
wished to choose a point of vantage from which I
could film the attack. Placing my apparatus in the
comparative safety of the dug-out, I accompanied
him outside. Rifle-fire was continuous ; shells from
out 6o-pounders and 4"2's were thundering past
overhead, and on either side " Minnîes " (German
bombs) were falling and exploding with terrific force,
smashing out parapets and dug-outs as if they had
been the thinnest of matchwood.
Fortunately for us these interesting novelties
could be seen coming. Men are always on the look-
out for " Minnies," and when one bas been fired from
the Bosche if rises fo a height of about rive hundred
feet, and then with a sudden curve descends. At
that point if is almost possible fo calculate the exact
whereabouts of ifs fall. Every one watches if ; the
space is quickly cleared, and it falls and explodes
harmlessly. Sometimes the explosion throws the
earth up fo a height of nearly 15o feet.
While I was deciding upon the exact poht of the
parapet upon which I would place the camera, a
sudden cry of " Minnie " was heard. Looking up,
I saw if was almost overhead, and with a quick rush
and a dive I disappeared into a dug-out. I had
barely got my head into if before " Minnie " fell
and blew the mud in all directions, covering my
back plentifully, but fortunately doing no other
Eventually I decided upon the position, and look-
ing through my periscope saw the German trenches
stretching away on the right for a distance of half a
toile, as the ground dipped into a miniature valley.
88 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
From this point I could get an excellent film, and if
the Germans returned our fire I could revolve the
camera and obtain the resulting explosions in our
The farm-house where I spent the night was about
nine hundred yards behind the firing track. All that
now remained of a once prosperous group of farm
buildings were the battered walls, but with the aid
of a plentiful supply of sandbags and corrugated
iron the cellars were made comparatively comfort-
By the rime I reached there it was quite dark,
but by carefully feeling my way with the aid of a
stick I stumbled down the rive steps into the cellar,
and received a warm welcome from Captain ,
who introduced me to his brother officers. The.y.all
seemed astounded at my mission, never imagmlng
that a moving picture man would come into the
Iront battle line to take pictures.
The place was about ten feet square ; the roof was
a lean-to, and was supported in the centre by three
tree-trunks. Four wooden frames, upon which was
stretched some wire-netting, served as bedsteads ;
in a corner stood a bucket-fire, the fumes and smoke
going up an improvised chimney of petrol tins. In
the centre was a rough table. One corner of it was
kept up by a couple of boxes ; other boxes served as
Rough as if was, it was like heaven compared with
other places at which I bave stayed. By the light
of two candles, placed in biscuit tins, we sat round,
and chatted upon kinematograph and other topics
until 11.3o p.m. The Colonel of another regiment
then came in fo arrange about the positions of the
relieving battalions which were coming in on the
following day. He also arranged for his sniping
expert and men to accompany the patrolling parties,
which were going out at midnight in " No Man's
THE BATTLE OF ST. ELOI 8 9
Land " to mend mines and spot German loop-
A message came through by 'phone from Brigade
headquarters that the rime of attack was 5.45 a.m.
I could have jumped for joy; if only the sky was
clear, there would be enough light for my work. The
news was received in quite a matter-of-fact way by
the others present, and after sending out carrying
parties for extra ammunition for bomb guns, they
all turned in to snatch a few hours' sleep, with the
exception of the officer on duty.
At twelve o'clock I turned in. Rolling myself in a
blanket and using my trench-coat and boots as a
pillow, I lay and listened to the continual crack of
riite-fire, and the thud of bullets striking and burying
themselves in the sandbags of our shelter. Now and
then I dozed, and presently I fell asleep. I suddenly
awakened with a start. What caused it I know hot ;
everything seemed unnaturally quiet; with the
exception of an isolated sniper, the greatest war in
history might bave been thousands of toiles away.
I lit a cigarette, and was slowly puffing it (rime,
4.15 a.m.), when a tremendous muffted roar rent the
air; the earth seemed to quake. I expected the
roof of our shelter to collapse every minute. The
shock brought my other companions tumbling out.
" Something " was happening.
The rumble had barely subsided, when it seemed
as if all the guns in France had opened rapid battery
tire at the saine moment. Shells poured over our
heads towards the German positions in hundreds.
The shrieking and earsplitting explosives were
terrific, from the sharp bark of the 4"2 to the heavy
rumble and rush of the 9-inch " How." The
Germans, surprised in their sleep, seemed absolutely
demoralised.. They were blazing away in all direc-
tions, firing m the most wild and extraordinary
manner, anywhere and everywhere. Shells were
90 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
crashing and smashing their way into the remains
of the outbuildings, and they were literally exploding
Captain instructed lais officers to see what
had happened to the ammunition party. They dis-
appeared in the hell of shcll-fire as though it were
quite an every-day incident. I opened the door,
climbed the steps, and stood outside. The sight
which met my eyes was magnificent in its grandeur.
The heavens were split by shafts of lurid tire.
Masses of mctal shot in all directions, leaving a trail
of sparks behind them ; bits of shell shrieked past
my hcad and buried themsclves in the walls and
sandbags. One large missile fell in an open space
about forty feet on my left, and exploded with a
deafcning, ear-splitting crash. At the same moment
anothcr exploded directly in front of me. In-
stinctively I ducked my head. The blinding flash
and frightful noise for the moment stunned me, and
I could taste the exploding gas surrounding me. I
stumbled down the steps into the cellar, and it was
some minutes before I could see clearly again. My
companions were standing there, calmly awaiting
The frightful din continued. It was nothing but
high explosives, high explosive shrapnel, ordinary
shrapnel, trench bombs, and bullets from German
machine-guns. One incessant hail of metal. Who
on earth could live in it ? What worried me most
was that there was hot sufficient light to film the
scene ; but, thank Hcaven, it was gradually getting
It was now 5 a.m. The shelling continued with
increasing intensity. I got my apparatus together,
and with two men decided to make my vay to the
position in the front line.
Shouldering my camera I led the way, followed
by the men ata distance of twenty yards. Several
THE BATTLE OF ST. ELOI 9
times on the journ.ey shrapnel balls and splinters
buried themselves in the mud close by. When I
reached the firing trench all our men were standing
to arms, with grim faces, awaiting their orders. I
fixed up the tripod so that the top of it came levcl
with out parapet, and fastened the camera upon it.
It topped the parapet of our firing trench (the
Germans only forty-five yards away), and to break
the alignment I placed sandbags on either side of it.
In this position I stood on my camera case, and
started to film the Battle of St. Eloi.
Our shells were dropping in all directions, smash-
ing the German parapets to pulp and blowing their
dug-outs sky-high. The explosions looked gorgeous
against the ever-increasing light in the sky. Look-
ing through my view-finder, I revolved first on one
section then on the other; from a close view of
6-inch shells and " Minnies " bursting to the more
distant view of our 9.2. Then looking right down
the line, I filmed the clouds of smoke drifting from
the.heavy (woolly bears) or high shrapnel, then back
agam. Shells---shells--shells--bursting masses of
molten metal, every explosion momentarily shaking
The Germans suddenly started throwing "Minnies"
over, so revolving my camera, I filmed them bursting
over our men. The casualties were very slight. For
fully an hour I stood there filming this wonderful
scene, and throughout all the inferno, neither I nor
my machine was touched. A fragment of shrapnel
touched my tripod, taking a small piece out of the
leg. That was ail !
Shortly after seven o'clock the attack subsided,
and as my film had all been used up, I packed and
returned to my shelter.
What a " scoop " this was. It was the first film
that had actually been taken of a British attack.
What a record. The thing itself had passed. It had
9 2 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
gone ; yet I had recorded it in my little 7- by 6-inch
box, and when this terrible devastating war was over,
and men had returned once again to their homes,
business men to their offices, ploughmen to their
ploughs, they would be able to congregate in a room
and view all over again the fearful shells bursting,
killing and maiming on that winter's morning of
March 27th, i916.
A NIGHT ATTACK--AND A NARROW ESCAPE
A Very Lively Experience--Choosing a Position for the Camera
Under Fire--I Get a Taste of GasWitness a Night Attack by
the Germans--Surprise an Officer by My Appearance in the
Trenches--And Have One of the Narrowest Escapes--But
Fortunatcly Get Out with Nothing Worse than a Couple of
Bullets Through lly Cap.
T HE weather was very fine when I left
G.H.Q., but on reaching , to interview
Colonel in reference to the mining
section, rain fell heavily. I arrived soon after mid-
day, and went to the Intelligence Department fo
report; the C.O. telephoned fo the C. of M. for an
appointment. It was ruade for nhe o'clock that
night. Having plenty of rime at my disposal, I
returned to , and passed a few hours vith some
friends. In the evening I returned for my appoint-
ment at the hour named. The Colonel was exceed-
ingly interested in my project, and was willing to do
anything to help me. He gave me a letter of intro-
duction to the Corps Commander of the Army,
Brigadier-General , also one to Captain ,
C.O. of the Mining Section. I was to proceed fo
General first, and obtain the permission.
At eight o'clock the following morning I rushed
off to the Company H.Q. I met the General leaving
his château. Having read my letter of introduction,
he promptly gave his consent. I was to report to
Major , at H.Q., saying it was quite ail right.
Thanking the General, I hastened to H.Q., and
showing his letter and delivering his message, I was
94 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
given a note to Captain , asking him to give me
every assistance. Before leaving, the Mai or wished
me success, and asked me whether I was prepared
to wait until a " blow " came off ?
" Yes, sir," I replied, " for rive or six days in the
trenches, if necessary."
The Colonel had made arrangements with several
Companies that they were to report immediately to
th Company when they were going to " blow,"
in order to give me time to go immediately to the
spot and film it.
Leaving the Company H.Q., I proceeded to ,
and duly presented the Captain's letter.
" You have the Corps' permission," said the
Colonel; " it will now be necessary to obtain the
Divisional C.O. permit."
This I eventually obtained. Now if by any chance
a " blow '" took place opposite either of the other
Companies, it would be necessary to obtain their
permission, as they were in another Division. There-
fore, calling upon a major of that Division, I secured
the final permit.
Next morning I left for the front line trenches.
Reaching --, which was smashed out of all recog-
nition, we drew up under cover of some ruined walls.
Shells were falling and bursting among the ruins,
but these diversions were of such ordinary, everyday
occurrence that hardly any notice was taken of them.
If they missed--well, they were gone. If they hit--
well, it was war !
The Miners, gathering near the " Birdcage " (a
spot which derives its name from a peculiar ixon cage
erection at the corner of the road), formed up, and
proceeded for about three hundred yards to the
beginning of " Quarry Ally," the ammunition trench
leading to their particular part of the front line.
They filed in one by one ; I filmed them meanwhile.
The journey of thirteen hundred yards to the
A NIGHT ATTACK 95
front line was quite an ordinary walk. It was
interesting to note the different tones of the heavy
and light shells as they flew overhead, from the dull
rush of a 9"2 to the shriek of the i8-pounder. I
reached a Company dug-out. It was certainly one
of the best I have ever seen. Going down three steps,
then turning sharply at right angles, I disappeared
through a four-foot opening ; down more steps to a
depth of ten feet, then straight for three paces. At
the end was the main gallery, about twenty-five feet
long, rive feet in width, and rive feet six inches high.
Half of it was used for the telephone operator, and
sleeping accommodation for the orderlies, the other
half was used as officers' quarters. Several oflïcers
were busy discussing plans when I arrived. The
conversation might sound strange and callous to an
"Well, what's the news ? How's Brother Bosche ?"
" Bosche r.eported quite near," was the reply.
" Out shaft lS practically finished, and ready for
charging. This morning you could distinctly hear
Bosche speaking. His gallery was getting nearer to
ours. I told the Sergeant to work only when Bosche
was doing so."
" When are you going to ' blow' "
" I am not sure of the date, but ' Dinkie ' is going
to ' poop' in a few days. He's got two tons under
Bosche. It will be a fine show; right under his
trenches. Ought to snip a hundred or so."
" Well," said another, "I was down in C shaft,
and could hear Bosche working very hard, as if he
had got all the world to himself."
At that moment a tunnelling-sergeant came in,
and reported that the Bosche was much nearer.
The listener could distinctly hear talking through
An officer immediately got up and went out with
the sergeant, one of the speakers meanwhile suggest-
9 6 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
ing that/3rother/3osche was certainly going to visit
realms of higher kultur than he had hitherto known.
Then came a close scrutinising of maps, showing
shafts in the making and mines ready for" blowing ";
of sharp orders to the tunnelling-sergeants and fatigue
parties to bring charges from the magazine. The
whole thing was fascinating in the extreme. A new
branch of His Maiesty's Service, and one of the most
dangerous. To be on duty in a listening-post thirty
feet underground---in a narrow tunnel, scarcely
darhag to breathe, listening to German miners mak-
ing a counter-mine, and gradually picking their way
nearer and nearer, until at last you can hear their
conversation--would try the nerves of the strongest
I went out, and ruade my way towards the well-
known Quarries. Noting several interesting scenes
of our Scottish battalions at work, I filmed them.
A most pathetic touch was added to the scene, for a
neat little graveyard occupied the right-hand corner,
and about one hundred small crosses vere there.
I was hot allowed to remain very long. The
Bosche sent over several aerial torpedoes, vhich
exploded with terrific force and split up the ground
as if a z-inch H.E. shell had been at work. Natur-
ally every one rushed to obtain as much cover as
possible. I crossed to the other side of the Quarry,
and entered a small tunnel, which led into a winding
maze of narrow communication trenches.
"/3e careful, sir," called a sentry. "I3osche is
only thirty yards away, and they are plugging this
corner pretty thoroughly; they're fairly whizzing
through the sandbags, as if they warn't there, sir.
They caught my Captain this morning, clean through
the head. I was a-talking to him, sir, at the rime ;
the finest gentleman that ever lived ; and the swine
killed him. l'Il get six of them for him, sir." The
look in his eyes and the tone of his voice told me he
IN TIIE MAIN STREET OF CO1NTAI MAISON TIIE I}AY 1: ITS CAI"I'URE
LAUNCHING A ..XlçKE BARRAGE A]" TIIE BATIIE OF ST. EIOI
A NIGHT ATTACK 97
was in earnest. I passed on, keeping as low as
The crater, when I reached it, proved to be one of
an enormous size. It must bave been quite 15 ° feet
across. The place had been converted into a
miniature fort. I noticed how spongy the ground
was. When walking it seemed as if one was treading
upon rubber. I casually enquired of an officer the
cause of it. " Dead bodies," said he ; " the ground
here is literally choked with them; we date not
touch it with a spade; the condition is awful.
There are thousands of them for yards down, and
when a shell tears away any section of out parapets
the sight is too ghastly for words."
At that moment a man yelled out " cover," and,
looking up, I saw several Bosche rifle grenades falling.
Shouting to my orderly to take cover with the
camera, he disappeared into what I thought was a
dug-out but which I afterwards discovered was an
incline shaft to a mine. He ruade a running dire,
and slid clown about four yards belote he pulled
himself up. Luckily he went first, the camera butting
up against him. He told us afterwards he thought
he was really going to the lower regions.
I dived undei a sandbag emplacement, when the
grenades went off with a splitting crash, and after
allowing a few seconds for the pieces to drop, looked
out. A tragic sight met my gaze. The officer with
whom I had been speaking a few moments belote
had, unfortunately, been too late in taking cover.
One of the grenades had struck him on the head, and
killed him on the spot. Within a few moments
some Red Cross men reverently covered the body
with a mackintosh sheet and bore it away. One
more cross would be added to the little graveyard
in the Quarry.
Shortly after I met an officer of the Mining Section.
He was just going down into the gallery to listen to
9 8 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
Bosche working a counter-mine. Did I care fo
accompany him ? " Don't speak above a whisper,"
He disappeared through a hole about three feet
square. I followed, clinging fo the muddy sides
like a limpet, hall sliding, hall crawling, in the im-
penetrable darkness. We went on, seemingly for a
great distance; in reality it was only about fifteen
yards. Then we came fo a level gallery, and in the
distance, by the aid of a glow-lamp, I could see my
companion crouching dovn, with a warning finger
upon his lips to assure silence. The other side of him
was a man of the tunnelling section, who had been
at his post listening. The silence was uncmmy after
the din outside. In a few moments I heard a queer,
muffled tap--tap--tap, coming through the earth
on the left. I crept closer to my companion, and
with my mouth close to his ear enquired whether
that was the Bosche working.
" Yes," he said, " but listen with this," giving
me an instrument very similar to a doctor's stetho-
I put it to my ear and rested the other end upon
a ledge of mud. The effect was like some one speak-
ing through a telephone. I could distinctly hear the
impact of the pickaxe wielded by the Bosche upon
the clay and chalk, and the falling of the debris.
I turned to him with a smile. " Brother Bosche
will shortly have a fise in lire ? "
" Yes," said he, " I think we shall ' blow' first.
It's going to be a race, .though."
Final orders were gven to the man in charge,
then we cravled up again into the din of the crashing
shells. I was more at home in these conditions.
Down below the silence was too uncanny for me.
When I reached out dug-out once more a message
was waiting for me to return fo H.Q., as important
things were in prospect the following morning.
A NIGHT ATTACK 99
The message was urgent. Mines were to be blown
at an early hour. I therefore decided that the best
thing to do was to go into the trenches and stay the
night, and so be prepared for anything that might
happen. Little did I dream what the next forty-
eight hours were going to bring. It's a good thing
sometimes we don't know what the future has in
store for us. The stoutest heart might fail under
the conditions created by the abnormal atmosphere
of a modern battlefield.
I prepared to depart at 8 p.m., and bidding adieu
to my friends, I started off in the car. The guns
were crashing out continuously. Several rimes I
pulled the car up to shelter under some ruins. Then
for a few minutes there was a lull, and directing my
chauffeur to go ahead at top speed we reached our
destination safely. I had barely entered this scene
of desolation when Bosche shells came hurtling over-
head and fell with a deafening explosion a short
distance away. Here I had my first taste of gas
from the German weeping shells. The air was
suddenly saturated with an extraordinarily sweet
smell. For the first few moments I quite enjoyed it.
Then my eyes began to water freely, and pain badly.
Realising at once that I was being " gassed," I bade
the driver rush through the village, and as far beyond
His eyes, poor fellow, were in the saine state.
The car rolled and pitched ifs way through, smash-
ing into shell-holes, bounding over fallen masonry,
scraping by within a hair's-breadth of a recently
smashed lorry. On and on, like a drunken thilg.
Still the air was thick with the foul gas. My eyes
were burning; at last it was quite impossible to
keep them open. But I had fo get through, and so
with a final effort looked ahead, and fo my great
relief found we were beyond the village, and the air
smelt cleaner. I told the driver to pull up, and with
IOO HOW I FILMED THE WAR
a final roll the car landed its front wheels into a
For two hours afterwards I was to all intents and
purposes blind. My eyes were burning, aching and
weeping. The pain at last subsided, and collecting
the apparatus we trudged off along the communica-
tion trench to the front line. Threading out way
through seemed much more difficult than previously.
The sides of the trenches had been blown in by shells
a few minutes before, and this necessitated climbing
over innumerable mounds of rubble ; but working
parties were quickly on the scene clearing a way
through. At last I reached the dug-out previously
referred to, and believe me, I was very thankful.
The officer there seemed rather surprised to sec me.
" Hullo ! " he said. " What news ? Anything
doing ? "
" Yes," I replied. " H.Q. says they are ' bloàng '
in the early morning, so I decided to corne along to-
night and fix up a good position for the camera,
hot desiring to attract the too earnest attentions of a
" Whose mine are they bloxving ? " said he. " I
suppose I shall hear any moment." Just then a
message came through on the 'phone. He picked up
the receiver and listened intently. An earnest
conversation was taking place. I could gather from
the remarks that H.Q. was speaking. In a few
minutes he replaced the receiver, and turning to me,
said " D shaft is going to bloxv ; time, 7.15 a.m."
Soon after I turned in. Rolling myself in a
blanket, I lay down on a trestle-bed in the corner,
and in doing so disturbed a couple of rats, almost as
large as rabbits, which had taken up their temporary
quarters there. Apparently there were plenty of
them, for several rimes I fer the brutes drop on my
blanket from holes and crannies in the chalk. Need-
less to say, I could hot sleep a wink, tired out as I
A NIGHT ATTACK IOI
was, and as I lay there, twenty feet underground,
I could hear the rumble and roar of the shells crash-
ing their way through out parapets, tearing, killing
and maiming our brave lads, who throughout all
these horrors held this section of our line like a wall
I had been lying there for about half an hour.
Then I got up and climbed out of the incline into
the open trench. I worked my way towards the
fir!ng trench ; bullets froln Bosche machine-guns and
snlpers were flattening themselves against the
parapet. Several rimes I had fo squeeze myself
close fo the muddy sides fo allow stretcher-bearers
fo pass with their grim burdens; some for the
corner of the Quarry, some for good old " Blighty."
I stayed for a while alongside a sentry.
" Any news ? " I asked.
" No, sir," said he, " but I feel as if something is
going to happen."
" Corne," said I, with a laugh, " this is not the
time for dreaming."
" No, sir, I'm not dreaming, but I feel something--
something that I can't explain."
" Well, cheer up," I said. " Good night."
" Good night, sir ! "
And as I wended my way along I could hear him
softly whistling to himself the refrain of an old
At last I came upon the section opposite which
our mine was going up in the morning, and cautiously
looking over the parapet I surveyed the ground in
front. There were several sandbags that required
shifting. If they remained it would be necessary to
place, the camera higher above the top than was sale
or wlse. Carefully pulling myself up, I lay along
the top of the parapet and pushed them aside.
Several star-shells were fired whilst I was so engaged,
and I date not stix--I scarcely dared breathe--for
lO2 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
fear the slightest movement would draw a stream
of bullets in my direction.
Undoubtedly this »vas the only place from which
to film the mine successfully. So marking the spot
I slid down into the trench again, and retraced my
steps to the dug-out. I round the officer I had
previously seen enjoying a lovely, steaming tin of
tea, and it »vasn't many minutes before I was keep-
ing him company. We sat chatting and smoking
for a considerable rime.
" Is everything ready ? " I asked.
" Yes," he said. " There is over three thousand
pounds of it there" (mentioning an explosive).
"Brother Bosche will enjoy it."
" Let me see your map," I said, " and l'll point
out the spot where I'm working. It's about eighty
yards away from Bosche. If »ve work out the exact
degree by the map of the ' blow,' I can obtain the
right direction by prismatic compass, and a few
minutes before ' rime ' lift the camera up and cover
the spot direct. It'll save exposing myself un-
necessarily above the parapet to obtain the right
point of view." The point of view was accordingly
settled. It was 124 ° from the spot chosen for the
We had been so busy over out maps that we had
not noticed how quiet everything had become.
Hardly a gun sounded; the silence was uncanny.
Save for the scurrying of the rats and the drip--drip
--drip of water, the silence was like that of the
" What's wrong ? " I asked.
" Bosche is up to no good vhen he drops silent so
SO » "
on, he sald. The »vords of the sentry recurred to
me. " l've a feeling, sir, that I cannot describe."
I was beginning to feel the saine.
At length my companion broke the silence.
" As Bosche seems to be going easy, and out
A NIGHT ATTACK lO3
artillery bas shut up shop, let's lie down," and with
that he threw himself on the bed. I sat on the box,
which served as a table, smoking.
Half an hour went by. Things were livening up
a bit. We began to hum a tune or two from the
latest revue. Suddenly we were brought to out
feet by a crashing sound that was absolutely in-
describable in its intensity. I rushed up the incline
into the trench. What a sight ! The whole of out
front for the distance of a mile was one frightful
inferno of tire. The concentration of artillery tire
was terrific ! Scores of star-shells shot into the air
at the same moment, lighting the ground up like day,
showing up the smoking, blazing mass more vividly
than ever. Hundreds of shells, large and small,
were bursting over out trenches simultaneously;
out guns were replying .on the German front with
redoubled fury; the air was alive with whirling
masses of metal. The noise was indescribable.
The explosions seemed to petrify one.
I made my way as near the front line as possible.
A number of Scots rushed by me with a load of hand
grenades. The trenches were packed with men
rushing up to the fight. I asked an officer who raced
by, breathlessly, if Bosche was getting through.
" Yes," he yelled; "they are trying to get
through in part of my section. They have smashed
out communication trenches so much that I have
got fo take my men round on the right flank. It's
hell there ! "
It was impossible to get through. The place was
choked with men, many of them badly wounded ;
some of them, I'm afraid, destined as tenants of the
little cemetery near by.
The awful n.ightmare continued. Men were
coming and gomg. Reserves were being rushed
forward; more bombs were being sent up. The
Bosche artillery quietened down a bit, but only, as
lO4 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
I found out immediately afterwards, fo allow their
bombers to attack. I could see the flash of hundreds
of bombs, each one possibly tearing the life out of
some of out brave boys. Nothing in the world could
have withstood such a concentiated artilleiy file as
the Germans put upon that rive hundred yards of
ground. It was torn and torn again, riven to shreds.
It was like the vomiting of a volcano, a mass of earth
soddened with the blood of the heroes who had tried
to hold it.
The Germans came on, bombing their way across
to what was left of out trench. They dug themselves
in. Then with a whirl and a crash, out guns spoke
again. Out boys, who had been waiting like dogs
on a leash, sprang fo the attack. Briton met Bosche.
The battle swayed first this way then that. Out men
drove the Germans out twice during the night, and
held on to a section commanding the flank of the
original position. Towards four o'clock the fighting
ceased. I)aylight was breaking. The wounded were
still being passed to the rear.
I stopped and spoke to an officer. " How have
you got on ? " I asked.
" We occupy the left flank trench, and command
the position. But, what a fight ; it was worse than
Loos." Then suddenly, " What are yo2 doing
here ? "
" I ara taking kinema pictures ! " I said.
The look of amazement on his face was eloquent
of his thoughts.
" I)oing what ? " he asked.
" I am taking kinema pictures," I repeated.
" Well I'm damned," were his exact words. "I
never thought you fellows existed, l've always
thought war pictures were fakes, but--well--now I
know different," and giving me a hearty shake of
the hand he went on his way.
Time was now drawing near for my work to begin.
A NIGHT ATTACK lO5
Taking the camera to the selected point in the front
line, which, luckily, was just on the left of the
fighting area, I took my bearings by the aid of a
compass. Fixing up a tripod in such close quarters
was very difficult. I stretched an empty sandbag
on a piece of vire, cut a hole in it and hung it on the
front of the camera in such a position that the lens
projected through the hole. The sandbag stretched
far enough on either side to shelter my hands,
especially the right one, which operated the machine.
I was now ready. I had to risk the attentions of
the snipers; it was unavoidable. Little by little I
raised the camera. It was now high enough up, and
ramming some sand against the tripod legs, I
Had the Bosche seen it ?
Three more minutes, then the mine. One minute
went by; no shots! Another minute went by. A
bullet flew over my head. Immediately afterwards
another buried itself in the parapet, then another.
Surely they would hit it! Heavens how that last
minute dragged ! To be absolutely sure of getting
the mine from the very beginning, I decided to start
exposing a minute before rime. It had to be done ;
reaching up, I started to expose. Another and
another bullet flew by.
Then the thing happened which I had been
dreading. The Bosche opened a machine-gun on
At that moment there was a violent convulsion of
the ground, and with a tremendous explosion the
mine went up. It seemed as if the whole earth in
front of us had been lifted bodily hundreds of feet
in the air. Showers of bombs exploded, shoving
that it had been well under the German position.
Then with a mighty roar the earth and debris fell
back upon itself, forming a crater about 15o feet
across. Would our men rush the crater and occupy
lO6 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
it ? On that chance, I kept turning the handle.
The smoke subsided ; nothing else happened.
The show was over. No, hot quite; for as I
hurriedly took down the camera, I evidently put my
head up a little too high. There was a crack, and a
shriek near my head, and my service cap was
whisked off. The whole thing happened like a flash
of lightning. I dropped into the bottom of the
trench and picked up my cap. There, through the
soif part of it, just above tle peak, were two holes
where a bullet had passed through. One inch nearer
and it would bave been through my head.
Can you realise what my thoughts were at that
precise moment ?
FOURTEEN THOUSAND FEET ABOVE THE
The First Kinematograph Film Taken of the Western Front--And
How I Took It Whilst Travelling Through the Air at Eighty
Miles an Hour--Under Shell-fire--Over Ypres--A Thrilling
Experience--And a Iqarrow Escape--A Five Thousand Foot
Dive Through Space.
" T FEEL confident I can manage if, and that
the result will be both instructive and unique,
and provided the weather is clear and I get as
small a dose of ' Bosche' as possible, there ls no
reason why if shouldn't be successful."
" Of course, I ara quite aware of the atmospheric
difficulties. The fact that it is so thick and misty is
entirely due fo the heavy body of moisture in the
ground--but if I start off early in the morning I may
just escape it."
This conversation took place in the office of a
certain Bl itish aerodrome n France between the
Flight Commander and myself. We had been going
into the pros and cons of an aerial expedition over
the German lines. I was anxious to film the whole
line from an aeroplane.
" Well," said he, " what about the height ? I
think I had better call in the Captain," and pressing
a bell an orderly quickly appeared and was sent off
to inform the Captain that his presence was required..
"I say," said the Flight Commander, " this ls
Malins, the War Office Kinematographer." He then
explained my mission and requirements.
" Now," he said, after all preliminaries had been
HOW I FILMED THE WAR
discussed, "the question is about the height. What
is a tolerably safe height over ' Bosche' "
"About 8,000 feet, I should say, though of
course if we go well over his lines it will be
necessary to rlse higher. There are too many
' Archibalds ' about to dodge any lower."
" Well," I .replied, " l'll start taking my scenes
when we arrive at the coast-line. We can then
follow it along and turn off inland towards Ypres.
I should very much like to film that place from
above, then follow down the lines, passing over
St. Eloi, Plcegsteert, Armentières, Neuve Chapelle,
Richebourg, Festubert, Givenchy, Loos, Hohen-
zollern Redoubt, and on fo Arras. I ara of course
entirely in your hands. I do not want to j eopardise
the trip, nor wish you fo run any unnecessary risks,
you understand, but I should like to get as low as
possible, and so obtain more detail. It will be the
first kinematograph film ever taken of the Western
" Well," said the Flight Commander, rising,
"you have full permission. You can bave the use
of a BE .C machine, with Captain -- Do what
you like, but take care. Don't be rash. Good luck
to you. I shall be as anxious as you fo sec the
In the Captain's company I left the office, and
together we went round to make arrangements
regarding the means of fixing my camera.
The machine was the usual type of passenger-
carrying aero, numbered BE .C, a very stable and
reliable machine, but according to the Captain, not
very fast. Speed in this case vas not an absolute
necessity, unless a Fokker favoured us vith his
I went aboard to find the best means ol fixing and
operating my camera. I decided to use my debrie,
hot the aeroscope. The latter had jambed a day or
ABOVE THE GERMAN LINES lO9
two previous, and I had not had an opportunity of
repairing if. The observer's seat was in the front,
and just above, on the main srus, vas a cross-tube
of metal. On each end was an upright socket, for
the purpose of dropping into if a Lewis gun. The
pilot also had the saine in front of him.
I suggested that a metal fixing, which would fit
the socket, and a tiling arrangement, so that it
vould be possible fo raise or lower the camera fo
any angle, would suit admirably, and on the other
side, in case of attack, a Lewis gun could be
" It's well fo be prepared for emergencies," said
the Captain. " It's quite possible we shall be
" Well," I said, " I will have a good shot af him
if he does turn up. And vho knows--I may be able
to get a picture of the Hun machine falling. By Jove,
what a thrill it would provide ! "
Instructions were given fo the excellent mechanics
employed in the R.F.C., and vithin an hour or so
the metal tilting-top vas ruade and fixed on the
" You vill have fo wrap up well," said the Captain.
" It's jolly cold up there. If looks rather misty,
and that will make it all the worse. Now then,
Up I scrambled, or raher wriggled, between a
network of wire stays, and taking my seat the
camera vas handed fo me. I fastened it on one side
of the gun-mounfing and fixed a Lewis gun on the
other, making sure I had spare boxes of film ready,
and spare drums of ammunition. I then fastened
the broad web belt round my vaist, and fixed on my
I was ready for the ascent.
My companion vas in his seat, and the machine
was wheeled into position for starting..The mechanics
IiO HOW I FILMED THE WAR
were turning the propeller round fo suck the gas
into the many cylinders, fo facilitate easier starting.
" All ready," shouted the Captain. " Right away,
contact, let ber go." And with a jerk the motor
The whirl of the huge blades developed into a
deafening roar. The machine vibrated horribly. I
clung fo my camera, holding if tight to the socket.
I knew that once in the air the shake would be
reduced to a minimum. Faster and faster whirled
the propeller as the Captain opened the throttle.
t!ow sweet and perfect xvas the hum of the giant
motor. Not the slightest sound of a misfire. Being
an ardent motorist, I could tell that the engine was
in perfect tune. The Captain leaned over and
shouted to me through the roar to fasten the tele-
phone receiver against my ear under my leather cap.
" That," said he, pointing to a mouthpiece
attached fo a small rubber tube, " is the transmitter.
If you want fo give me any instructions shout into
that. I shall hear you. Ail fit ? " he asked.
I nodded my head. He took his seat, and opened
the throttle. The engine leapt into new life. The
ioar was deafening. The whirring blades flung the
air back into my face, cutting if as if with a whip.
He dropped his arm. The men drew away the
chocks from the wheels, and amid shouts of " Good
luck!" from the officers present, the machine
sprang forward like a greyhound, bounding over the
irass, until af last it rose like a gigantic bird into the
The earth gradually drew away. Higher and
higher we rose, and began fo circle round and round
fo gain height.
" We will get up to three thousand feet before we
strike towards the coast," he shouted ihrough the
The vibration, now we were in the air, was barely
ABOVE THE GERMAN LINES iii
perceptible, at any raie if was not sufficient fo affect
the taking of my scenes. In case any moisture
collected on my lens, I had brought a soif silk pad,
fo wipe if with occasionally. Higher, still higher,
" What's the height now ? " I asked.
" Very nearly three thousand feet," he said.
" We are now going towards the coast. That's
Dunkirk over there."
I peered ahead. The port, with its shipping, was
clearly discernible. Over the sea hung a dense mist,
looking for all the world like a snowfield. Here and
there, in clear patches, the sun gleamed upon the
water, throwing back ifs dazzling reflections.
As soon as we reached the coast-line, I shouted :
" Proceed well along this side, so that I can obtain
an oblique view. If looks much better than directly
above the object. What's out speed ? "
" Sixty toiles," he said. " I shall keep if up until
we reach the German lines."
He turned sharp fo the right. We are now follow-
ing the coast-line towards Ostend. How beautiful
the sand dunes looked from above. The heavy
billows of sea-mist gave if a somewhat mystic
appearance. How cold if was. I huddled down
close into my seat, my head only above the fuselage.
Keeping my eye upon the wonderful panorama un-
folding ffself oui beneath me, I glanced at my
camera and tested the socket. Yes, if was quite
" We are nearing the lines now," my companion
shouted. " Can you see them on your right ? That's
the Belgium area. Out section, as you know, begins
just before Ypres. Will this height suit you ?
Shall I follow the trenches directly overhead or a
little fo one side ? "
" Keep this side, Fil begin taking now." Kneeling
up in my seat, I directed my camera downwards
112 H0W I FILMED THE W R
and started filming our lines and the German position
stretching away in the distance.
We were nearing Ypres, that shell-battered city of
Flanders. White balls of smoke here and there were
bursting among the ruins, showing that the Huns
were still shelling if. What a frightful state the
earth was in. For toiles and toiles around if had the
appearance of a sieve, with hundreds of thousands
of shell-holes, and like a beautiful green ribbon,
winding away as far as the eye could see, was that
wonderful yet terrible strip of ground between the
lines, known as " No Man's Land."
We were now running into a bank of white fleecy
clouds, which enveloped us in its folds, blotting the
whole earth from vlew. I held my handkerchief
over the lens of the camera fo keep the moisture
froml settling upon it. After a tilne several breaks
appeared in the clouds beneath, and the earth looked
wonderful. It seemed miles--mlany mliles--away.
Rivers looked like silver streaks, and houses mere
specks upon the landscape. Here and there a puff
of white smoke told of a bursting shell. But for that
occasional, somlewhat unpleasant reminder, I might
bave been thousands of toiles away froill the greatest
war in history.
Who could imagine anything more wonderful,
more fantastic ? I had dreamed of such things, I had
read of theill; I even remembered having read,
years ago, some of the wonderful stories in Grimm's
Fairy Tales. To my childish mlind, they seemed
ve13z wonderful indeed. There were fairies, goblins,
mlysterious figures, castles which floated in the air,
wonderful lands which shifted in a night, at the
touch of a magic wand or the sound of a magic word.
Things which fired my youthful imagination and set
me longing to share in their adventures. But never
in my wildest dreams did I think I should live fo do
the saille thing, fo go where I listed ; to fly like a
ABOVE THE GERMAN LINES 113
bird, high above the clouds. If was like an adven-
ture in fairyland fo take this weird and wonderful
creation of men, called an aeroplane, through the
home of the skylark.
Boom! Boom! I was suddenly brought back
fo--no, not fo earth, but to--things more matefial.
Looking down, I could discern several balls of
smoke, which I immediately recognised as shrapnel
shells, or " Archibalds," that had been fired at us
by the Germans. They were well below. I looked
round at the Captain. He was smiling through his
goggles, and humorously jerked his thumb in the
direction of the bursting " Archies."
" Too high, eh ? " I shouted. But I had forgotten
that in the fearful hum of the rushing air and whirl-
ing motors my voice would not carry. If was
literally cut off as if left my lips. I picked up the
'phone and shouted through it.
" Yes, they are pretty safe where they are," he
said drily. Then a few more burst underneath us.
By this rime we were well out of the cloud bank.
The atmosphere was much clearer. I knelt up again
on my seat and began to expose, and continued
turning the handle while we passed over St. Eloi and
Hill 60. On certain sections I could see that a con-
siderable " strafe " was going on. Fritz seemed fo
be having a very trying rime. Near Messines my
film suddenly tan out. I had fo reload. This was
anything but an easy operation. I unscrewed my
camera from the gun socket, and in doing so had a
near escape Irom doing a head-dive fo earth. Like
an idiot, I had unfastened my waist-strap, and in
reaching over the fuselage my camera nearly over-
balanced, the aeroplane contributing fo this result
by making a sudden dive in order fo avoid an
For a second or two I had clear visions of flying
through space on wings other than those of an aero-
114 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
plane. But fortunately I had the steel crossbar fo
cling to, and this saved me.
Getting back fo my seat, I asked the pilot fo
circle iound the spot for a few minutes. While
changing my spool, I settled down in the bottom of
the car and reloaded my camera, eight thousand feet
above the earth. This operation occupied about
ten minutes, and when I had finished I gingerly
raised myself on the seat and refixed the camera in
" Right away," I shouted. " Is if possible fo go
any lower ? "
" It's very risky," he said, " but if you like I will
try. Hold fight, it's a dire."
I held tigh. The nose of the machine filted
forward unfil if seemed as if it was absolutely stand-
ing on end. The earth rushed up fo meet us. For
the moment ff seemed as if the aeroplane was out of
control, but with a graceful glide, which brought us
level, we continued our journey af a height of three
" Get what you want quickly," he shouted. " We
can't stay here long."
I began fo expose again.
line after line of trenches.
over the 13osche lines. I
First came Plcegsteert,
13y now we were over
At rimes ve were well
continued fo film the
Fromelles, and Aubers
Ridge. Then we crossed to Neuve Chapelle,
Festubert, La 13assée and Loos. Town after town,
village after village, were passed over, all of them in
ruins. From above the trenches, like a splash oi
white chalk dropped into the middle of a patch of
brown earth. The long winding trenches cut out of
the chalk twisted and wound along valley and dale
like a serpent. Looking down upon it all, if seemed
so very insignificant. Man ? What was he ? His
works looked so small that it seemed one could,
ABOVE THE GERMAN LINES 115
wffh a sweep of the foot, crush him out of existence.
How small he was, yet how great ; how powerful,
yet how weak ! We were now over La Bassée.
" We shall have fo rise," shouted my companion.
" Look up there." I looked up, and thousands of
feet above us was a small speck.
" Bosche plane," said he. " Hold tight ! " And
FILMING THE EARTH FROM THE CLOUDS
Chasing an " Enemy " Aeroplane at a Height of I3,5oo Feet---And
What Came of It--A Dramatic Adventure in which the Pilot
Played a Big Part--I Get a Nasty Shock--t3ut ara 1Reassured--
A Freezing Experience--Filming thc Earth as we Dived Almost
Perpendicularly--A Picture that would Defy the lVlost Ardent
Futurist to Paint.
" T S that gun ready ? '" asked my companion,
twisting round in his seat. I nodded. "Right-o !
I'm going to get up higher. We are absolutely
lost down here."
I fixed on a drum of cartridges, and with a butt
in my hand was ready for any emergency. Higher
and higher we rose. The mist was becoming more
and more dense. Photographing was impossible.
The cold seemed to chill one's bones. I could tell
by the increasing vibration we were going " all out,"
in order fo get above the enemy machine, which
seemed fo be drawing closer and closer. I looked at
the pilot. He had his eyes fixed upon the Bosche.
" What are we now ? "
" Eight thousand," he said. " Tha chap must be
af least thirteen thousand up. Do you notice whether
he is coming nearer ? "
I told him it seemed fo me as if he was doing so.
Up and up we wen. Colder and colder if grew.
My face was frozen. To breathe, I had fo turn my
head sideways fo avoid the direct rush of air from
the whirling propeller. I could just discern the
ground through the mist. I looked around for the
Bosche. He seemed further away. I shoued fo the
pilot. He looked round.
FILMING THE EARTH 117
" I'm going fo chase it," he said. And away he
went. But the faster we moved the faster went the
other machine. At last we discovered the reason.
In fact, I believe we both discovered it af precisely
the saine moment. The plane was one of our own !
I looked at the Captain. He smiled af me, and I'm
positive he felt disappointed af the discovery.
" What's the height ? " I enquired.
" About thirteen thousand feet," he said. " Shall
we go higher ? We may ge± above the mist."
" Try a little more," I replied. " But I don't
think if will be possible to film any more scenes
to-day ; the fog is much too heavy."
The whole machine was wet with moisture. It
seemed as if we should never fise above it. I had
never before known if so thick. My companion
asked if we should return. With reluctance I agreed,
then, turning round face to the sun, we rushed
The mist did hot seem to change. Mile after toile
we encountered the saine impenetrable blanket of
clammy moisture. I was huddling as tight as possible
to the bottom of the seat, taldng advantage of the
least bit of cover from the biting, rushing swirl of
icy-cold air. Mile after toile; it seemed hours up
there in the solitude. I watched the regular dancing
up and down of the valves on top of the engine. I
was thinking of a tune that would fit to the regular
beat of the tappets.
I shouted through the 'phone.
He must be too cold to speak, I thought. For
myself, I did not know whether I had jaws or hot.
The lashing, biting wind did not affect my face now.
I could feel nothing. Once I tried to pinch my
check; it was liteless. It might have been clay.
My jaw was practically set stiff. I could only just
118 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
I tried again to attract my companion's attention.
Still no answer.
I was wondering whether anything had happened
to him, when something did happen which very
nearly petrified me. I felt a clutch on my shoulder.
Quickly turning my head, I was horrified fo see him
standing on his seat and leaning over my shoulder.
" Get off the telephone tube, you idiot. You are
sitting on it," he shouted. " Ne can't speak to one
" Telephone be damned!" I managed to shout.
" Get back to your seat. Don't play monkey-tricks
If you can imagine yoursêlf fourteen thousand
feet above the earth, sitting in an aeroplane, and
the pilot letting go all his controls, as he stands on
his feet shouting in your ear, you will be able to
realise, but only to a very slight extent, what my
feelings were at this precise moment.
He returned to his seat. He was smiling. I
fumbled about underneath and found the tube.
Putting it to my mou th, I asked him what he meant
" That's all right, my dear chap," he said, "there's
no need to get alarmed. The old bus will go along
merrily on ifs own."
" l'll believe all you say. In fact l'll believe
anything you like fo tell me, but I'd much rather
you sit in your seat and control the machine,"
He chuckled, apparently enjoying the joke to the
full, but during the remainder of the journey I ruade
sure I was not sitting on the speaking tube.
The mist was gradually clearing now. The sun
shone gloriously, the clouds, a long way beneath us,
looked more substantial ; through the gaps in their
fleecy whiteness the earth appeared. It seemed a
long rime since I had seen it. Ne were again coming
FILMING THE EARTH 119
fo the edge of a cloud bank. The atmosphere beyond
was exceedingly clear.
" We are nearly home," said my companion.
" Are you going to take any more scenes ? "
" Yes," I said, " I suppose you'll spiral down? "
" Right-ho ! "
" l'll take a film showing the earth revolving.
It'll look very quaint on the screen."
" Here goes then. We are going to dive down to
about six thousand feet, so hold on tight fo your
The engines almost stopped. Suddenly we seemed
to be falling earthwards. Down--down--do«n!
We were diving as nearly perpendicular as it is
possible to be. Sharp pains shot through my head.
If was getting worse. The pain was horrible. The
right side of my face and head seemed as if a hundred
pin-points were being driven into if. I clutched my
face in agony; then I realised the cause. Coming
down from such a height, at so terrific a speed,
the different pressure of the atmosphere affected
the blood pressure on the head.
Suddenly the downward rush was stopped. The
plane was brought to an even keel.
" I'm going to spiral now," said the pilot.
" Ready ? "
" Right away," I said, and knelt again in my seat.
The plane suddenly seemed to swerve. Then it
slanted at a most terrifying angle, and began to
descend rapidly towards the earth in a spiral form.
I filmed the scene on the journey. To say the earth
looked extraordinary would be putting it very
mildly. The ground below seemed to rush up and
mix with the clouds. First the earth seemed tobe
over one's head, then the clouds. I am sure the most
ardent futurist artist would find it utterly impossible
to do justice to such a scene. Round and round we
went. Now one side, now the other. How I held to
12o HOW I FILMED THE WAR
my camera-handle goodness only knows. Half the
rime, I am sure, I turned it mechanically.
Suddenly we came fo an even keel. The earth
seemed within jumping distance. The nose dipped
again, the propeller whirled. Within a few seconds
we were bounding along on the grassy space of the
aerodrome, and finally coming fo rest we were sur-
rounded by the mechanics, who quickly brought the
machine fo a standstill.
" By the way," I said fo the pilot, as we went off
fo tea, " how long were we up there altogether ? '"
" Two hours," .he replied.
Two hours ! Great Scott ! It seemed days !
t'REPARING FOR THE "BIG PUSH"
The Threshold of Tremendous Happenings--General 's Speech
to His Men on the Eve of 15attle--Choosing My Position for
Filming the" Big Push "--Under Shell-fire--A Race of Shrieking
Devils--Fritz's Way of " Maldng Love "--I Visit the " White
City "--And On the Way bave Another Experience of Gas
HE rime for which England has been pre-
paring during these past two awful years
is here. We arc now on the threshold of
tremendous happenings. The Great Offensive is
about fo begin. What will be the result ?
We see the wonderful organisation of our vast
armies, and we know the firm and resolute methods
of our General Staff--as I have seen and known
them during the war--would leave nothing fo be
desired. As a machine, if is the most wonderful
that was ever created.
My position as Official Kinematographer has
afforded me unique opportunities to gain knowledge
of the whole system required to wage the most
terrible war that has ever been known to mankind.
I have not let these opportunities slip by.
The great day was coming ; there was a mysterious
something which affected every one af G.H.Q.
There was no definite news fo hand ; nobody, with
the exception of those directly concerned, knew
when and where the blow was fo be struck. Some
thought on the northern part of our line, others the
centre; others, again, the south. In the home, in
the streets, in the cafés and gardens, the one topic
of conversation was--the coming Great Offensive.
122 H0W I FILMED THE WAR
I was told by a colonel that my chance fo make
history was coming. That was all. But those few
words conveyed an enormous lot to me. Later in
the day I was told by a captain to proceed fo the
Iront line, fo choose a suitable position wherein fo
fix up my camera. Our section facing Gouerment
was suggested fo me as the place where there was
likely tobe the most excitement, and I immediately
set out for that section. During the journey I was
held up by a large body of our men, who turned out
afterwards fo be the London Scottish. They were
formed up in a square, and in the centre was
a general, with his staff officers, addressing the men.
His words thrilled the hears of every one who heard
" Gentlemen of the London Scottish: Within the next few
days you will take part in the greatest battle in the history of the
world. To you has been entrusted the taking and holding of
Gouerment .... England is looking to you to free the world
from slavery and militarism that is epitomized in the German
nation and German Kultur .... Gentlemen, I know you will
not rail, and trom the bottom of my heart I wish you the best
I waited until the address was finished, and then
proceeded fo a certain place, striking out on the left
and trudging through innumerable communication
trenches, af times up to my knees in mud and vater.
Eventually I reached an eminence facing the village
of Gouerment. If was in a valley. The German
trenches ran parallel with my position, and on the
right I could discern the long green ribbon of
grass termed " No Man's Land," stretching as
far as the eye could see. The whole Iront of the
German lines was being shelled by our heavy
guns ; the place was a spitting mass of smoke and
flame. Salvo airer salvo was being poured from our
" What an inspiring sight,'" I said to an officer
PREPARING FOR THE "BIG PUSH" 123
standing by my side, " and these shells were Inade
by the woinen of England."
"Well," he said, "you see Gommecourt ; that's
all coining down in a day or two. Every gun, large
and sinall, will concentrate its tire on if, and level it
to the ground. That's your picture."
" In that case," I replied, "I shall want fo be
Inuch nearer our front line. I Inust get within rive
hundred yards of it. What a sight ! What a filin
if will be ! "
I stood watching the boinbardinent for soine rime,
then fixing Iny cainera position, I returned. Divi-
sional H.Q. told Ine I should be informed in ainple
tiine when the attack was fo be Inade.
That afternoon I returned fo G.H.Q., but the
best laid scheines of Inice and Inen aft gang agley.
I was told that night to prepare iininediately to
proceed fo the H.Q. of a certain Division, with
instructions to attach Inyself fo thein for the next
week; all particulars would be given to Ine in the
I received Iny instructions next Inorning. I was
to proceed to the Division, report Inyself, and I
should receive all the inforination and assistance I
required. With parting wishes for the best of
luck, and "don't coine back wounded," I left
H.Q., and proceeded by car fo the Colnpany H.Q.,
where I was received with every courtesy by
He told Ine the best thing to do was fo go fo
Divisional H.Q. and see the General. He had been
informed of Iny arrival, and the final details could be
arranged with hiin, such as the best points of vantage
for fixing up Iny cainera. Accordingly I hurried off
fo Divisional H.Q. and Inet the General. On being
ushered into his rooin, I found hiin sitting at a table
with a large scale Inap of a cer±ain section of our line
before him. He looked the very incarnation of in-
124 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
domitable will, this General of the incomparable
I quickly explained my mission, and told him I
should like fo go fo the front trenches fo choose my
" Certainly," he said, "that is a very wise plan,
but if y.ou will look here I will show you the spot
which, in my opinion, will make an idem place.
This is the German position. This, of course, is
Beaumont Hamel, which is out objective. This is
as far as we are going ; it will be a pivot from which
the whole front south of us will radiate. We are
going fo give the village an intense bombardment
this aflernoon, at 4 o'clock; perhaps you would
like to obtain that ? "
'" Yes, sir," I replied, " itis most necessary fo my
story. What guns are you using ? "
" Everything, flore trench mortars fo I5-inch
howitzers. We are going fo literally raze if to the
ground. Itis one of the strongest German redoubts,
and it's not going fo be an easy job fo occupy it;
but we achieved the impossible af Gallipoli, and
with God's help we will win here. There is a spot
here in out firing trench caIled ' Jacob's Ladder,""
and pointing fo the map, he showed it me.
" That certainly looks a most excellent point,
sir," I said. " What
lines ? "'
"About 15o yards.
from what I am told ;
fo take your chance,
is the distance from Bosche
They ' strafe' if considerably,
but, of course, you will have
the same as all my other
"That is unavoidable, sir. The nature of my
work does not permit me fo be in very comfortable
places, if I am fo get the best results."
" Right," he said, " if you will report fo Brigade
H.Q. the Brigade Major will give you what orderlies
you require, and you had better draw rations with
PREPARING FOR THE "BIG PUSH" 125
them while you are there. He has instructions to
give you every assistance."
" Oh, by the way, sir, what rime does the mine go
up ? "
" Ten minutes to zero," he replied. " You quite
understand, don't you ? Major will give you
zero rime to-morrow night."
After lunching with the General I started off for
Brigade H.Q. The weather was vile. It had been
raining practically without break for several days,
and was doing ifs best fo upset everything and give
us as much trouble as possible.
What an enormous number of munition waggons
and lorries I passed on the road ; toiles and miles of
them, all making for the front line. " Ye gods! "
I thought, " Bosche is certainly going fo get it."
I reached my destination about 2.3 o. What a
"strafe" there was going on ! The concussion of what
I afterwards round out was our Is-inch howitzers was
terrible. The very road seemed fo shake, and when
I opened the door of the temporary Brigade H.Q.,
one gun which went off close by shook the building
to such an extent that I really thought for the
moment a shell had struck the house.
" Captain , I presume ? " said I, addressing
an officer seated ata long table making out reports
and giving them over to waiting dispatch riders.
The room was a hive of industry.
" Gad, sir," he said, " are you the kinema man ?
I ara pleased to see you. Take a seat, and tell me
what you want. You are the last person I expected
fo see out here. But, seriously, are you really going
to film ' The Day' "
" Yes," I replied.
" Where do you propose to take it ? "
" General suggested ' Jacob's Ladder.' "
" What ? " came a startled chorus from about
hall a dozen other officers. " Take photos from
126 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
' Jacob's Ladder,' "hey repeated in ones of anaaze-
ment. " Good Lord! it's an absolute death-trap.
Bosche strafes it every day, and it's always covered
" Well," I said, " it certainly seems by the map
tobe an ideal place to get the mine going up and
he advance over ' No Man's Land.' "
" Granted, but--well !--it's your shoot. Will
you let us introduce the doctor? You'll need
" Gentlemen," I said, with mock gravity, " I
assure you it would be most difficult for me to
receive a more cordial welcome." This remark
caused some laughter. Turning to the Captain,
I said : " Will you give me an orderly ? One who
knows the trenches, as I wish to go there this after-
noon to film the ' strafe ' at 4 o'clock. I shall stay
down there for the next few days, tobe on the spot
for ' The Day,' and ready for anything that follows."
" Certainly," he said. " Ha e you got a trench
map ? What about blankets and grub ? "
"I have my blanket and some provisions, but if
I can draw some bully and biscuits, I shall manage
Having secured supplies and fiLled my knapsack,
I strapped it on my shoulder, fixed the camera-case
on my back and, handing the tripod to another man,
started off. I had hardly got more than two hundred
yards when the Captain tan up to me and said that
he had ]ust had a 'phone message from D.H.Q., say-
ing that the General was going to address the men
on the following day, before proceeding to battle.
Would I like to film the scene ? It would take place
about IO a.m. Naturally, I was delighted at the
prospect of such a picture, and agreed fo be on the
field at the rime mentioned. Then with a final adieu
The weather was sfill vile. A nasty, drizzly mist
PREPARING FOR THE "BIG PUSH" 127
hung over everything. The appearance of the
whole country was much like it is on a bad November
day af home. Everythin gE was clammy and cold.
The roads were covered to a deph of several inches
with slimy, clayey mud. Loads of munitions were
passing up fo the Front. On all sides were guns,
large and small. The place bristled with them, and
they were so cunningly hidden that one might pass
within six feet of them wffhout being aware of their
existence. But you could not get away from the
sounds. The horrible dinning continued, from the
sharp rat-tat-tat-tat of the French 75mm., of which
we had several batteries in close proximity, and
from the bark of the i8-pounders to the crunching
roar of the I5-inch howitzer. The air was literally
humming with shells. It seemed like a race of
shrieking devils, each tryinE to catch up with the
one in front befoie it reached its objective.
Salvo after salvo ; crash after crash ; and in the
rare moments of stillness, in this neive-shatteling
pielude to the Gieat iush, I could heai the sweet
warblings of a lark, as if rose higher and higher
in the murky, misty sky.
Af one place I had fo pass through a narrow lane,
and on either side were hidden batteries, sending
round upon round into the German trenches, always
under keen observation from enemy-spottin gE balloons
and aeroplanes. The recent shell-holes in the road-
way ruade me pause before proceedin gE further. I
noticed a sergeant of the Lancashiie Fusilieis af the
entrance to a thickly sand-bagged shelter, and asked
him if theie was anothei way to the section of the
front line I sought.
" No, sir," he said, "that is the only way ; but it's
mighty unhealthy just now. The Hun is crumplin gE
it with his 5"9-inch H.E., and makinE a tidy mess of
the road. But he don't hit out guns, sir. He j ust
improves theii appearance by making a nice little
128 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
frill of earth around them, he does, and--look out,
sir ; corne in here.
"' Here she cornes ! "
With a murderous shriek and horrible splitting
roar a German shell burst on the roadway about
fifty yards away.
" That is Fritz's way of making love, sir," he said,
with a chuckle; which remark admirably reflects
the marvellous morale of out men.
" Have they been shelling the avenues much ? "
I asked, referring to the various communication
trenches leading to the front line.
" Yes, sir. Nos. I, 2 and 3 are being severely
crumped. I would suggest No. 5, sir; it's as clear
as any of them. I should advise you fo get along
this lane as fast as possible. I have been here some
rime, so I know Fritz's little ways."
He saluted, and like a mole disappeared into his
dug-out as I moved away.
I told my man to keep about ten yards behind me,
so that in the event of a shell bursting near by one
or the other of us would have a chance of clearing.
" Now," I said, " let it go ata double. Corne on,"
and with head well forward I raced up the road.
Altogether, with my camera, I was carrying about
seventy pounds in weight, so you can guess it was
no easy marrer. There was about another 15o yards
fo go, when I heard the ominous shriek of a German
" Down in the ditch," I yelled. " Lie fiat," and
.suiting the action to the word, I flung myself down
in the mud and water near a fallen tree. Crash
came the shell, and it exploded with a deafening roar
more on the side of the road than the previous one,
and near enough to shower mud and water all over
me as I lay there.
" Now then," I yelled to my man, " double-up
before they range the next one," and jumping up
PREPARING FOR THE "BIG-PUSH" I 9
we raced avay. Not before I had got well clear,
and near the old railvay station, did I stay and rest.
While there several shells crashed in and around the
road we had just left. I was glad I was safely
With the exception of the usual heavy shelling,
getting dovn fo the front trench vas quite un-
eventful. My objective was a place called " The
White City," so called because itis cut out of the
chalk-bank of our position facing Beaumont Hamel.
Getting there through the communication trenches
was as difficult as in the vinter. In places the mud
and vater reached my knees, and when you had
corne fo the end of your journey you were as much
like dirty plaster-cast as anything possibly could be.
After three-quarters of an hour's trudging and
splashing I reached " The White City," and turned
down a trench called " Tenderloin Street." About
one hundred yards on my right, at the junction of
"King Street" and "St. Helena Street," my guide
pointed me out the Brigade dug-out. Depositing
my camera and outfit close to some sandbags I went
inside and introduced myself. Four officers were
" By Jove! " said one, "you are welcome.
Have a drink. Here's a cigarette."
" Here you are," said another, " have a match.
Now tell us all the news from home. My vord, we
haven't heard a blessed thing for days. Have you
really come to photograph ' The Day ' "
" Yes," I replied. " But I have corne this after-
noon fo look round, and fo film the 'strafe' at
Beaumont Hamel. You know the trenches round
here" where can I see the village fo the best
advantage ? "
" Well," said one, " there are several places, but
Bosche is ' hating ' us rather this afternoon, and the
firing trench is anything but healthy. He's been
3o HOW I FILMED THE WAR
properly dosing us with 'whizz-bangs,' but you
know he will have his bit of fun. You see, when
Friz sarts we let off a Iew ' flying pigs ' in return,
which undoubtedly disturbs his peace of mind."
" By my map, a spot called ' Lanwick Sreet'
seems likely," I said. " It's bang opposite the
village, and they are puIIing the 5-inch on the
eastern corner. If you will be good enough fo guide
me, I will have a look now; it will take me some
rime to fix up my camera in reasonable saIety."
" You won't find much safety there," he replied.
" We bave practically to rebuild the parapet every
lfight, but only for a Iew more days, thank Heaven !
Anyway, corne along."
We proceeded by way of "King Street" to
" Lanwick Street," and several times we had to fall
fiat in the trench bottom to escape being hit by
shells. They seemed at rimes to burst almost
overhead. The " whizz-bangs " which Fritz purs
over are raher little beggars; you have no rime
fo dodge them. They corne with a " phut " and
a bang that for sheer speed knocks spots off a
flash of lightning. One only thinks to duck when
he beastly thing has gone off.
" Lanwick Street " was the usual sort of trench.
Atone end was an arIillery observation officer,
correcting the range of his guns.
" Go easy, won't you ? " he said fo me. " ]3osche
has an idea we use this corner for something rather
important. If he sees your camera we shall certainly
receive his attention. For Heaven's sake, keep your
" RighI-o ! " I said. " Lend me your periscope ;
I will bave a look at the ground first through that."
I looked on the village, or rather the late site of it.
If was absolutely flattened out, with the exception
of a Iew remaining stumps of trees, which used tobe
a beautiful wood, near which the village nestled.
PREPARING FOR THE "BIG PUSH" x3
" That's been done by our guns in rive days;
some mess, eh ? "
" My word, yes. Now about this afternoon's
bombardment ; they are working on the left-hand
I chose a spot for working and fixing up my tripod,
and waited until 4.30 p.m.
In the meantime, with the aid of a stick, I gradually
pushed away several sandbags which interfered with
my view on the parapet. To do this it was necessary
to raise myself head and shoulders above the top
and, with one arm pushed forward, I worked the
bags clear. I felt much better when that job was
" You're lucky," said the A.O. " I had one of my
periscopes hit clean by a bullet this morning. Fritz
must be having a nap, or he would have had you
for a cert."
" Anyway," I replied, " it gives me a compara-
tively clear view now."
Time was drawing near. I prepared my camera
by clothing it in an old piece of sacking, and gently
raising it on fo the tripod I screwed it tight. Then
gradually raising my head to the view-finder, I
covered the section which was going to be " strafed,"
and wrapping my hand in a khaki handkerchief,
Our guns were simply pouring shells on the Bosche.
The first of the Is-inch came over and exploded
with a deafening roar. The sight was stupefying.
I began to expose my film, swinging the camera
first on one side then the other. Shell after shell
came roaring over; one dropped on the remaining
walls of a château, and when the smoke had cleared
there was absolutely nothing left. How in the world
anything could live in such a maelstrom of explosive
it is difficult fo conceive.
I continued to expose my film af intervals until
132 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
about 6 o'clock, and twice I had to snatch my
camera down hastily and take shelter, for the
"whizz-bangs" came smashing too close for
I was just taking down my camera when several
shells exploded in the trenches about fiffeen yards
behind us. Then a man came running into our
traverse : " Shure, sot," he said, " and it's gas-
shells the dirty swine are sending over. My eyes
seem tobe burning out." His eyes were undoubtedly
bad. Tears were pouring down his cheeks, and he
was trying to ease the pain by binding his handker-
chier over them. Then I smelt the gas, and having
had a previous dose ai Vel-nilles, and not wishing
for further acquaintance wih i, I bade my man
rush as quickly as possible back to " The White
I got back to H.Q. dug-out just in time for tea.
I told the officers present of my success in filming
the " strafe," and I learned hat it was the first time
Fritz had put tear-shells over them. "' We must
certainly prepare our goggles," they said.
" Have you seen ' Jacob's Ladder' ? " enquired
one of the officers.
" No," I replied, " I shall wait until dusk. Il will
then be safer to move about."
We sat smoking and talking about the prospects
of the " Big Push," and af last we all lapsed into
silence, which was broken by the arrival of a
lieutenant. The Captain looked up from his bench.
" Hullo, what's up ? Any news ? "
" Oh, no ; nothing much, sir," said he, " but H.Q.
wishes me fo go out for a raid o-night. They want
a Bosche 4o talk to; there are a few things they
want to know. We haven't brought one in for
several nighs now. They asked me to go oui again ;
I said, if here was one 4o be had my Company
would bring him along."
(;EOFFREV H. MAI.INS O.B.E., OFFICIAI KINEXlATO«;RAI'IIFR q'O TIIE
XVAR ()F Ff (_'E
PREPARING FOR THE " BIG PUSH"
" Right-o!" said the Captain. " Who are you
taking ? "
" for one, and a few Inen--the saine lot that
have been across with me before. H.Q. specially
want fo know the actual results of the heavy ' strafe.'
They are going to cease tire to-night, between twelve
and one. I »vant to find out where their machine
guns are fixed up--" And so the conversation
At that moment another oflïcer carne in, and I got
hiln fo show me round " Jacob's Ladder." We went
through "King Street "again, and follo»ved the trcnch
until we arrived at the place. Tbe formation of this
point »vas extraordinary.
A stranger colning upon it for the first rime would
undoubtedly get a slight shock for, upon turning
into a traverse, you corne abruptly upon an open
space, as if the trench had been sliced off, leaving
an opening froln »vhich you could look down upon
our front line trenches, not only upon thern but »vell
in front of thern.
I »vas on the bank of a srnall valley ; leading down
froln this position »vere about t»venty-five steps,
hence the naine " Jacob's Ladder." Our parapet
still follo»ved do»vn, like the handrail of a staircase,
only of course Inuch higher.
The position froln a photographic point of view
»vas admirable, and I doubt »vhether on any other
part of our front such a suitable point could be
found. " Jove! " I said, " this is the ideal place.
I »vill definitely decide upon it."
" If you look carefully over here you will see the
Bosche line quite plainly. They are about seventy
yards a»vay, and af that point »ve are going fo put
a barrage of tire on their second line with our Stokes
guns. We are going to do that frorn ' Sunken Road,'
rnid»vay in' No Man's Land.' Can you see it there ? "
" Yes," I replied ; " splendid. As soon as I have
13 4 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
got the mine exploding, and out men going over
the parapet and across 'No Man's Land,' I can
immediately--if all's well--swing my camera on
to the barrage and film that. This is a wonderful
" It tests entirely wffh Fritz now. If he does not
crump this place you will be all right, but they are
sure 4o plaster our front trench as soon as they see
us go over."
" Well, I must risk that," I said.
And we turned and retraced our steps to the
" White City," where I bade my companion good
night, and returned to film the scene of the General's
speech to his men the following morning.
FILMING UNDER FIRE
The General's Speech to the Fusiliers 13efore-Going Into Action--
Filming the i5-inch Howitzers--A Miniature Earthquake--
" The Day " is Postponed--Keeping Within " The Limits "--A
Surprise bIeeting in the Trenches--A Reminder of Other Days--
I Get Into a Tight Corner--And Have An Unpleasantly Hot
Experience--I Interview a Trench Mortar--Have a Lvely
Quarter of an HourwAnd Then Get Oit.
AIN, rain, rain. It was like a dull, dismal
December night. Owing to the tramping
of hundreds of feet up and down the
trenches, they became like a quagmire. We slipped
and slid, clutching fo the sticky, clay walls, and
floundering up fo our knees in holes, and, to make
matters worse, Bosche, who knew that this was the
rime we brought up fresh munitions, crumped the
Fifth Avenue as hard as he could. One or two shells
crashed into the trench on the way up, and I had to
pass over two working parties (by the aid of a
candle-light, screened) searching for, and placing
the remains of their comrades in sacks.
Good God! ifs a hellish game; and the terror
of war gripped one's heartstrings that night. The
momentary flash of the exploding shells lighted up
the faces of the men with ghastly vividness, some
grinding out curses then groping blindly on. I was
glad when the j ourney was ended, and I turned into
a dug-out in the village fo rest for the night.
Next morning a misty, drizzly pall still hung over
everything. I wondered how in the world our men
were going fo attack under such conditions, and fo-
136 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
morrow was " The Day." I pitied them with all rny
heart and soul. And then I thought of rnyself, and
.my own particular job. I couldn't possibly " take "
in such disgusting weather. The result would be
an absolute failure. I controlled rny feelings, and
hoped for the best.
The fiine arrived for the General's speech.
Reaching the field, I round all the rnen rnustcred up.
The Gcneral had just arrived. I started fo filin the
scenes as they presented thernselves fo me. Jove!
The speech was the inost irnpressive that I had ever
heard. I will give if as if was spoken, as near as I
can. I do not think that it has been published
" Oflïccrs and mon of the West Riding Field Company, R.E.,
and -- Battalion, Royal Fusiliers :
" I hoped yesterday to be able to corne and wish you good
luck, on the first annivcrsary of the engagement in Gully Ravine,
there the Royal Fusiliers took the Turkish fifth line of trenches.
Owing to the tain, however, and to the discomfort to which
you would have been placed, I postponed my visit until
" I want to tell you something of the situation as it now stands.
You are probably aware that we are now taking part in the
greatest battle ever fought by British troops. Not only is it of
far more importance than any fight since Waterloo, but the
numbers engaged far exceed any assembly of troops in former
days. The strength of this army,--the Fourth Army--under
General Sir tt. S. Rawlinson, is -- times as large as the force
of British troops at Mons, when we first came out a year and a
" The importance of winning a great victory is so great that
nothing has been left undonc fo ensure success. But the higher
Commanders know--and I know--that ail the best arrange-
ments in the world cannot win battles. Battles are won by
infantry, and it is to the battalions like yourself that we look
to gain a great victory, equal to the great victory which the
Russians have obtained this month.
" The Germans are shut in all round. On their northern flank
they are shut in by the Bfitish Navy, on the eastern flank pressed
back by the Russians, on the southern flank the Italians are
advancing, and this week, on the western flank, certain Divisions
FILMING UNDER FIRE 137
of the French and many Divisions of the British are determined
to break their line and drive them back to their own country.
'« Officers and men of the -- Battalion, the Royal Fusiliers :
You are very fortunate in having this opportunity to add to the
high honours already gained by your distinguished regiment.
Not only, however, are you fighting for your battalion and your
regiment, you are fighting fo maintain against the Germans the
saine high reputation which you have won for the -- Division
on the Gallipoli Peninsula. More than that, you are fighting for
your country, and also you are fighting for Christianity and
Humanity. You are fighting for truth and iustice against
oppression. We are fighting for our liberty against slavery.
" It is now thirty-three years since I was first associated with
the Royal Fusiliers, the regiment I have looked up to dufing
all my service as a pattern of smartness and efficiency. I have
served with you in Gibraltar, Egypt, and many stations in India ;
also at Aldershot, and on the Gallipoli Peninsula during the past
year. There is no regiment in the service in which I have had a
higher confidence, and I hope next week to be able to assemble
you again and to congratulate you on the great victory that you
are going to win for me, as commanding this Division, and for
The faces of the men shone with a new light. It
seemed as if they had seen a sight which other
mortals were not allowed to look upon. As upright
as poplars, chests well forward and heads thrown
back, their souls seemed to speak out of their in-
flexible determination fo win. They marched away,
going to that stretch of land from which many bave
never returned--giving their lives for freedom and
the honour of England.
I turned and gave a parting wave of the hand to
a group of officers standing by.
" See you to-night," I said, " a± the ' White City.'
We will drink to the health of ' The Day,' " and with
a parting laugh I moved away.
I round out through H.Q. that some of our I5-inch
howitzers were in the vicinity, so I decided to film
them without delay, to work them into the story of
the battle. I discovered their position on my map.
I reached the battery. The state of the ground was
138 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
indescribable. It was more like a " sea of mud,"
and standing in the middle of this morass was the
giant gun, for all the world like a horrible frog squat-
ring on its haunches. Each rime it breathed it
belched out flame and smoke wffh the most un-
earthly crash that could possibly be produced, and
wih each breah there flew wffh it a mass of metal
and high explosive weighing fourteen hundred
pounds, scattering death and destruction for
hundreds of yards round the point of impact in the
German defences, so that our boys might find it
easier 4o force their way through.
I filmed the firing several rimes, from various
points of view, and when standing only about fifteen
yards away the concussion shook the ground like a
miniature earthquake. On one occasion, indeed, it
lifted my camera and tripod in Che air, driving it
crashing into my chest. I had unknowingly placed
myself in the danger zone which forms a semi-circle
on effher side of the muzzle when fired, the force
being at rimes so great as to tear trees up by the roots
and send them crashing to the ground.
The prospects for " The Day " were certainly bad.
As one burly Lancashire lad said to me" " the
Devil was looking after his own ; but we are going
to beat them, sir." That was the spirit of all the
men I met there.
I went direct fo B.H.Q. to get a full supply of
film stock before going to the front line. I wished
to get there early, to bave a final look round and a
discussion wih the offlcers.
A man I knew was there, looking for all the world
like a man down and out. He had a face as long as
a fiddle, and several other offlcers were looking just
as glum. " You're a cheerful lot," I said. " What's
up ? Anything wrong ? "
" Yes, rather," they replied, " the day is
postponed for forty-eight hours."
BOMBARDING TIII-; (;ERMAN TREN('HES AT THE OI'F.NIN(; BATTI E O1: "IIIE
(;REA.'I" SOM/IE FII;HT, JUI 'V ISl', 1916
0:" t1 t_ £V sLC
"IY OFFICIAI. PAS. TO THE FRONT LINE TO FILM THE IATI'LE OF TIIE
SOMME, t'L'," IST. 1916
FILMING UNDER FIRE 39
" Great Scott ! Why ? " I asked.
" The weather," he answered laconically. " It's
quite impossible for out chaps to go over the top in
such sticky stuff. They wouldn't stand an earthly.
As I said before, it's doing ifs best to upset the whole
affair. I know the men will be awfully disappointed.
We can hardly hold them back now--but there, I
suppose the Commander-in-Chier knows best. Un-
doubtedly it's a wise decision. The weather may
break--God knows it couldn't be worse ! "
At that molnent the Brigade-General came iii.
He was looking quite bright.
"I hear 'The Day' has been postponed, sir,"
I said. " Is that oncial ? "
" Yes," he said. " If the wcather improves ever
such a little if will pay us for waiting, and of course
if will suit you much better ? "
" Rather," I replied. " If also gives me more
rime to film the preliminary scenes. I shall, how-
ever, keep fo my programme, and go to the trenches
I packed ai1 my apparatus together, put some
bully and biscuits in my bag, and started off once
more for the trenches. I adroit that on the journey
thoughts crept into my mind, and I wondered
whether I should return. Outwardly I was merry
and bright, but inwardly--well, I admit I fclt a bit
nervous. And yet, I had an instinctive feeling that
ail would be well, that I need hot worry. Such is the
complex mystery of the human mind, battling within
itself against ifs own knowledge, ifs own decisions,
ifs own instincts. And yet there is a predominating
force which seems fo shuffle itself out of the midst
of that chaotic state of mind, and holds itself up as
a beacon-light, saying " Follow me, believe in me,
let me guide you, all will be well." And if is the man
who allows himself fo be guided by that mysterious
something, which for the want of a better narne
14o HOW I FILMED THE WAR
we may call" instinct," who benefits, both spiritually
and materially, by it.
The usual big gun duel was proceeding with its
usual intensity, but we were putting over about
fifty shells to the Huns' one. " Crump " fell both
ahead and behind me, compelling me, as before, fo
fall fiat upon the ground. I reached the "Fifth
Avenue." The trench was full of men taking down
munitions. The news of the postponement had by
some means reached them ; they also were looking
Ye Gods, I thought, ifs very nearly worth while
fo risk walking along the top. In places there was
quite two feet of mud and water fo wallow through.
" Fritz is crumping down the bottom of the
Avenue, sir," said a Tommy fo me; " just caught
several of our lads--dirty blighters: right in the
" Thanks," I replied.
Thinking there might be an opportunity of getting
some scenes of shell-bursts, I hurried on as fast as
conditions would permit. With men coming up,
and myself and others going down, with full packs
on, it was most difficult fo squeeze past each other.
At times if was impossible, so climbing up on fo the
parapet, I crawled into another traverse further along.
Just then another shell burst lower down, but
well away from the trench, hurting no one. I
eventually reached the " White City "" without
mishap, and was greeted enthusiastically by the
" What's the programme now ? "'
"I am waiting for the final kick-off," I said.
" Are you going to give me a good show ? And don't
forger," I said, " hold back some of your bayonet-
work on Fritz until I get there with my machine."
" But you're not coming after us with that affair,
are you ? "
FILMING UNDER FIRE 141
" Yes, certainly; ber your life I shan't be far
behind. As soon as you ge± into Bosche trenches
I shall be ±here ; so don't forget--get there."
From ±he corner some one shouted: "Tell
brother Fritz if he gets out of 'the limits,' won't
yot ? " This remark caused much laughter.
" Where have you heard that term used ? " I
enquired. " ' Limits ' is a technical terre."
" Yes, I heard it used once, a year or two ago. I
was staying at a small place called Sterning, near
Brighton. A Film Company was taking scenes in
the village and on the downs. They had about two
hundred horsemen and an immense crowd, and were
rehearsing a scene for what I was told was a repre-
sentation of the Battle of Worcester. It was some
fight. The camera man was continually shouing
out to them to keep in 'the limits ' (I assumed he
meant the angle of view). As I say, it was some
fight. Everything went well until a section of the
men, who were supposed fo run away, got a few
genuine kaaocks on the head and, wishing to get their
own back, they continued fighting. It was the
funniest thing in the world. Of course the camera
was stopped, and the scene retaken."
" That's extraordinary,'" I replied. " Do you
know tha± I was the chap who filmed that scene ?
it was for a film play called ' King Charles.' Ifs
very peculiar how one meets. I remember that
incident .quite well."
I agaln filmed various scenes of the Germans
" strafing " out lines. Out guns, as usual, were
crashing out. They were pouring concentrated tire
on the Hawthorn Redoubt, a stronghold of the
Germans, and thinking it would yield an excellent
picture, I ruade my way to a point of vantage,
whence I could get an unobstructed field of view.
There was only one place, and that was a point
directly opposite. To get there it was necessary to
I4Z HOW I FILMED THE WAR
cross a sunken road about twenty-five feet wide.
But if was under continual tire from German machine
guns, and being broad daylight it was absolutely
asking for trouble, thick and unadulterated, to
attempt fo cross if. I was advised hot fo do so, and
I adroit I ought fo have taken the advice. Any-
way, the opportunity of getting such a fine scene of
a barrage of tire was too strong, and for once my
cautionary instincts were af fault.
To reach the sunken road was comparatively easy.
You had only fo walk along out Iront line trench,
and fall down fiat on the ground when a German
shell burst near you, then proceed. I reached the
junction where the road ran across af right angles,
and from tlae shelter of our parapet the road looked
the quietest place on earth. If appeared easy
enough fo me fo jump up quickly, run across and
drop on the further side in our trench.
" Ridiculously easy ! I'm going across," I said fo
my man. " When I'm over l'Il throw a cord across
for you fo rie my tripod on fo; then I'll pull it
across. If will save you attempting if."
I tied the camera on my shoulders, so as fo have
my arms quite free. I was now ready. The firing
was renewed with redoubled vigour. Shells I could
see were falling on the Hun lines like hailstones.
" Jove ! " I said fo myself, " I shall miss if. Here
Clambering up fo the road level, I sprawled out
fiat and lay perfectly sill for a few seconds, with
my heart jumping like a steam engine. Nothing
happened. I gradually drew up my leg, dug the toe
of my boot in the ground, and pushed myself forward
bit by bit. So far, so good : I was half-way across.
I was congratulating myself on my easy task. "What
in the world ana I lying here for ? " I asked myself ;
"why shouldn't I run the remaining distance ? " And
suiting the action fo the word, I got upwand found
FILMING UNDER FIRE x43
trouble! I had barely raised myself fo my hands
and knees when, with a rattle and a rush, a stream
of bullets came swishing by, some striking the ground
on my left, about nine feet away.
I took the whole situation in in a flash. To lie
there was almost certain death ; fo stand up was
worse; fo go back was as bad as going forward.
What happened afterwards I don't know. I could
hear the bullets whizzing by my head with an ugly
hiss. The next moment, with a j ump and a spring,
I landed head first in the trench on the opposite side.
For the moment I did hot know whether I was hit
or hot. I unstrapped my camera, fo see if if had
caught any bullets, but, thank Heavcn, they had
cleared if. Some of our men wcre standing looking
aghast af me, and xvondering xvhat the devil if was
that had marie such a sudden dire iltO their midst.
The look on their faces was just too funny for words ;
I had fo roar with laughter, and, realising that I was
sale, they also joined in.
But I was hot out of the wood yet, for brother
Fritz immediately turned " whizz-bangs " on fo us.
" Phut-bang," " phut-bang," they came. Every
one scampered for cover. Needless fo say, I did so
too. Five minutes went by. Ail the rime these
souvenirs dropped around us, but luckily none of
them got any direct hits on our trench.
I thought I would wait another rive minutes, fo
see i/t3osche would cease tire. t3ut hot he. He was
rather cross about my crossing the road safely.
Time went by. Still the firing continued. I
decided fo risk throwing the cord and pulling over
my tripod. Keeping low, I yelled fo my man:
he, like a sage, had also taken cover, but hearing
my shouts came out.
" The rope is coming," I yelled. " Tug if as a
signal, when you have if."
" Right," came the reply.
144 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
Three rimes I threw it before I received the
welcome tug af the other end. Then a voice
shouted : " Pull away, sir."
I pulled. I had 4o do if gently, otherwise the
broken nature of the ground might damage the head.
At las it was .safely over, but Bosche had seen
something movmg, across; hen he turned his
typewriter on agmn. More bullets flew by, but
with the exception of one which struck the metal
revolving top and sliced out a piece as evenly as
if if had been done by machine, no harm was
I bade one of the men shoulder my tripod. We
rushed up the trench as fas as possible, and I
thanked Heaven for my escape. XX'hen I reached
the section where I judged if best fo fit up my
camera, I gently peeped over he parapet. What a
sight. Never in my life had I seen such a hurricane
of tire. If was inconceivable that any living thing
could exist anywhere near if. The shells were
coming over so fast and furious tha it seemed as if
they must be ouching each other on their journey
through the air.
To get my camera up was the work of a few
seconds. I had no rime fo put any covering material
over if. The risk had 4o be run, he picture was
worth ff. Up went my camera well above the
parapet and, quickly sighting my object, I started
fo expose. Swinging the machine first one way then
the other, I turned the handle continuously. Pieces
of shell were flying and ripping past close overhead.
They seemed fo get nearer every rime. Vhether
they were splinters from he bursting shells or
bullets from machine guns I could not tell, but ff
got so hot af last tha I j udged iX wise fo take cover.
I had exposed sufficient film for my purpose, so
quickly unscrewing the camera, my man aking the
ripod, I hurried in:o a dug-ou for cover. " Jove ! "
FILMING UNDER FIRE 145
I thought, mopping the perspiration from my head,
" quite near enough tobe healthy ! "
Although the men were ail taking cover, they
were as happy as crickets over this " strafe." There
is nothing a Tommy likes more than to sec out
artillery plastering Bosche trenches into " Pots-
" Well, what's the next move ? " I was asked.
"Trench Mortars," I said. " Both ' Flying Pigs '
and 'Plum Puddings' ought to make topping
" Yes," the Captain said. " They are in action
this aftemoon, and I ara in charge of FI.T.M. I'll
give you a good show. I have only one pit available,
as Frffz dropped a ' crump ' in the other yesterday,
and blew lhe whole show to smithereens. My
sergeant was sitting smoking at the time, and when
she blew up it lifted him clean oui of the trench,
without even so much as scratching him. He turned
round to me, and cursed 13osche for spoiling his
smoke. He's promised to get his own back on
' 13rother Fritz.' 13et your life he will
I-Ie had hardly ceased speaking, vhen our dug-
oui shook as if a mine had gone up close by. I
tumbled oui, followed by the others. Lumps of
earth fell on our heads; I certainly thought the
roof was coming in on us. Getting into the trench,
the bombardment was still going strong, and looking
on my left I saw a dense cloud of smoke in our own
" What in the world's up ? " I enquired of a man
" Dunno, sir," he said. " I believe it's a 13osche
mine. It ruade enough fuss to be one, yet it seems
in such an extraordinary position."
" Iffow about getting round to have a look af it ? "
I said to
" Right-o," he said; " but you know we can't
146 HOW I FII,MED THE WAR
cross the road there. I lhink if we back well down,
aboul one hundred yards, we may nip across inlo
No. 2 Avenue. That'll bring us oui near ' Jacob's
" Lead on," I said. "I wish I had known. I
came in across the road there," poinling down our
" You've gol more pluck lhan I bave," he said.
" You can congralulate yourself lhat you are alive.
Anyway, corne on."
Evenlually I reached " Jacob's Ladder," and
asked an Offlcer what had happened.
" I don'l know," he said ; " but whatever it was,
k's smashed our fronl trench for about eighly yards :
it's absolutely impassable."
Another officer came running up ai that moment.
" I say," he said, " there's a scene up lhere for you.
A lrench mortar gun had a. premalure bursl, and
exploded all the munition in the pli; blew lhe
whole lol--men and all lo pieces. II's ruade a
craler thirty yards across. II's a beastly wreck.
Can't use thal section of the fronl line. And to
make malters worse, Fritz is pumping over tear-
shells. Everybody is tickled lo dealh with
" Don'l cheer me up, will you ? " I remarked.
" I'm going lo film the trench mortar this afternoon,
bolh the H.T.M. and lhe 2-inch Gee. I can lhank
my lucky slars I didn't decide to do them earlier.
Anyway, here goes; the lighl is getting rather
The officer with whom I was talking kindly offered
lo guide me lo lhe spot. Crumps were still falling,
and so was lhe rain. " We'll go lhrough « Lanwick
Slreet,' then bear to lhe leK, and don't forgel to
keep your head down."
There are two things I detesl more lhan any-
thing else in the trenches : they are « whizz-bangs "
I'I:IE PI.AN (H: ATTd'K AT BEAUMONT HAMEL.
JUIY ISI', I916
OVER I'HE TOP OF BEAUMONT HAMEL. II'IY l';T, 1916
FILMING UNDER FIRE 47
and rats. The latter got mixed up in my leet as I was
walking through the trench, and onc, more impudent
than the test, whcn I crouched down fo avoid a
burst, iumped on fo my back and sprang away into
" We will turn back and go by way ol ' White
City,' then up King Strcet. If may be cooler there."
If certainly was hot. hcalthy in this neighbour-
Turning back, I bade my man iol]ow close behind.
Entering the main trcnch, I hurried along, and was
quitc ncar the King Strect turning whcn a Hun
" crump " came tearing ovcrhead. I vc]Icd out to
my man fo takc covcr, and crushed into the entrance
ol a dug-out mysel/. In doing so, I upset a cantcen
of tca over a buckct-fire which one of out lads was
preparing to drink. His remarks were drowned in
the explosion ol the she]l, which landed barely
twenty-fivc feet away.
"Now then," I called fo my man, "run for if into
King Strcet," and I got there iust in timc fo crouch
down and escapc another " crump " vhich came
hurtling over. In a flash I knew it was coming very
near- I crouchcd lower. If burst with a sickening
sound. If seemed iust overhcad. Dirt and rubble
poured over me as I lay there. I rushed fo the
corner fo see where if had struck. If had landed
only twelve feet from the dug-out entrance which
I had left only a few seconds before, and it had
killed the two men whom I had crushed against,
and for the loss of whose tea I was responsible.
It was not the time or place to hang about, so I
hurried fo the trench-mortar pit fo finish my scenes
whilst daylight lasted.
I met the officer in charge of the T.M.
" Keep your head down," he shouted, as I turned
round a traverse. " Our parapet has been practically
wiped out, and there is a sniper in the far corner of
148 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
the village. He has been dropping his pelles ino
my show all day, and Fritz bas been splashing me
wffh his ' Minnies ' fo ry and find my gun, but he
will never get ff. Just look af the mess around."
I was looking. I would have beaen the finest
Indian scout 4o try and disinguish he rench from
the débris and honeycomb of shell-holes.
" Where the deuce is your outfit ? " I said, looking
" You follow me, but don' show an inch of head
above. Look out." Phu-bang came a pip-squeak.
If stru.k and burst about rive yards in front of us.
" BroCher lriz is confoundedly inconsiderate," he
said. "He seems fo want all he earh o himself.
Corne on ; we'll get there his rime, and run for if."
After clambering, crawling, running and jumping,
we reached a hole in he ground, ino which he head
and shoulders of a man were j us disappearing.
" This is my abode of love," said my guide. " How
do you like i ? "
I looked down, and af he depth of about twelve
feet was a trench mortar. The hole ffself was, of
course, boarded round wih imber, and was about
seven feet square. There was a gallery leading back
under out parapet for he distance of abou eighy
feet, and in this were sored the bombs. The men
also shelered here.
I let myself down wffh my camera and threaded
by the numerous " plum puddings " lying here:
I fixed my camera up and awaffed he order for he
men fo commence firing.
" Are you ready ? " came a voice from above.
" Right, sir," replied he sergeant. I began ex-
posing my film.
" Fire ! " the T.M. officer shouted down.
Fire they did, and the concussion nearly knocked
me head over heels. I was quite unprepared for
such a backblast. Belote they fired again, I got a
FILlV[ING UNDER FIRE 49
naan to hold down the front leg of nay tripod. The
gun was recharged ; the order to tire was given,
the lanyard was pulled, but no explosion.
" Hullo, another"
" Misfire," was the polite renaark of the sergeant.
" Those fuses are giving us naore trouble than
Another detonator was put on, everything was
ready again. Another tug was given. Again no
Renaenabering the happenings of the morning in
another pit, when a prenaature burst occurred, I felt
anything but conafortable. Sitting in the middle of
about one hundred trench naortar bonabs, visions of
the whole show going up canae fo nae.
Another detonator was put in. " Firc," canae the
order. Again it failed.
" Look here, sergeant," I said, " if that bally
thing happens again I'm off."
" The blessed thing has never been so bad before,
sir. Let's bave one naore try."
Still another detonator was put in. I began turn-
ing the handle of my canaera. This rime it was
" That's ail I want," I said. " l'na off. Hand me
up nay camera. And with due respect fo your gun,"
I said to the T.M. officer, " you naight cease tire until
I ana about fifty yards away. I don't naind risking
Brother Fritz's 'strafe,' but I do object to the
possibility of being scattered fo the four winds of
heaven by out own shells." And with a laugh and
good wishes, I left him.
"I say," he called out, " corne into my dug-out
to-night, will you ? It's just in front of Fifth
Avenue. I shall be there in about hall an hour ; I
bave got fo give Fritz a few naore souvenirs to go on
with. There is a little naore wire left over there,
and the C.O. wants it all' strafed ' away. Do corne,
15o HOW I FILMED THE WAR
won't you ? So long. See you later. Keep your
" Right-o! " I said, with a laugh. " Physician,
heal thyself. A little higher, and you might as well
be sitting on the parapet." He turned round sharply,
then dropped on his knees.
" Strafe that bally parapet. I forgot all about it.
Fire! " he yelled, and I laughed ai the pleasure he
was getting out of blowing up Fritz.
I scrambled and slithered back into the recognised
trench again, and on my way back filmed the H.T.M.,
or " Flying Pig," in action. By lhis time it was
getting raiher dull, so going to a dug-oui, I dropped
my apparatus, and had another final look at the
position from which I was going to film the great
attack in the morning.
THE DAWN OF JULY FIRST
A Firework Display Heralds the Arrival of " The Day "--How the
Boys Spent Their Last Few Hours in the Trenches--Rats as
Bedfellows--I Make an Early Start--And Get Through a Mine-
shaft into «' No Man's Land "--The Great Event Draws Near--
Anxious Moments--The Mon Fix Bayonets--And XVait the
Word of Command to" Go Over the Top."
D ARKNESS came, and with if a host of star-
shells, or Verey lights, which were shot up
high in the air from both the German and
our own trenches. They looked for all the world like
a huge firework display af the Crystal Palace.
Rain had ceased. The heavens were studded with
countless millions of stars. " Great prospects for
to-morrow," said one. "I hope ifs fine, for he
sake of the boys. They are as keen as mustard to
go over the top."
As we talked, batch after batch of men came
gliding by in their full kit, smoking and chatting.
While I was standing there hundreds must bave
passed me in that narrow trench, quietly going to
their allotted positions. Now and again sharp orders
were given by their officers.
" How's your section, sergeant ? Are you fitted
up ? "
" Yes, sir," came a voice from the blackness.
" Now, lads, corne along : get through as quickly
as possible. Post your sentries at once, and be
It was not long before little red rires were gleaming
out of the dug-out entrances, and crowds of rnen
152 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
were crouching round, heating their canteens of
water, some frying pieces of meat, others heating
soup, and all the rime laughing and carrying on a
most animated conversation. From other groups
came the subdued humming of favourite songs.
Some were cursing and swearing, but with such a
bluntness that, if I may say so, it seemed o take all
the profanity from the words.
And these men knew they xvere going " over the
top " in the morning. The day which they had
dreamed of was about fo materialise. They knew
that many would not be alive to-morrow night, yet
I never saw a sad face nor heard a word of complaint.
My feeling whilst watching these men in the glow of
the firelight was almost indescribable. I was filled
with awe at their behaviour. I reverenced them
more than I had ever done belote ; and I Ielt like
going down on my knees and thanking God I was an
Englishman. No words of mine can fitly describe
this wonderful scene. And all the rime more men,
and still more men, were pouring into the trenches,
and munitions of all descriptions were being served
The bursting German shells, and the shrieks over-
head of the missiles from our own guns, were for the
moment forgotten in the immensity of the sights
around me. I turned and groped the way back fo
my shelter and, as I did so, out tire increased in
intensity. This was the prelude to the greatest
attack ever made in the history of the world, and
ere the sun set on the morrow many of these heroes--
the Lancashire Fusiliers, Royal Fusiliers, Middle-
sex, etc.mwould be lying dead on the field of
battle, their lives sacrificed that civilisation might
At last I found a friend, and sitting down fo our
box-table we had a meal together. Afterwards I
wandered out, and entered several other dug-outs,
THE DAWN OF JULY FIRST
where friends were resting. They all seemed anxious
for the morning fo corne. I met the mining officer.
"I say; let me check my watch by yours," I
said. " As the mine is going up at 7.20 I shall want
fo start my machine about half a minute before-
" Right-o ! " he said. We then checked watches.
I bade him good night, and also the others, and the
best of luck.
" Saine fo you," they cried in general chorus.
"I hope fo heavens you get through with it, and
show them all af home in England how the boys
fight. They will then remise what war really means.
Good night, old man."
" Good night," I replied, and then round my way
back fo the shelter. I rolled myself in a blanket,
and tried fo sleep.
The night was very col& I lay shivering in my
blanket and could hot get warm. The guns were
continually crashing out. Shells were bursting just
outside with appalling regularity. Suddenly they
seemed fo quieten down, as if by some means the
Germans had got fo know of our great plans and
were preparing for the blow. Presently everything
was comparatively quiet, except for the scurrying
of countless rats, running and jumping over my
body, as if it was the most natural thing in the world.
I expect I must have dozed off fo sleep, for when I
awoke day was breaking, and the din of the gun-fire
was terrific. Innumerable worlds seemed to be
crashing together, and if sounded as if thousands of
peals of thunder had concentrated themselves into
one soul-terrifying roar.
An officer looked in af the entrance at that
" Hullo !" he said. " Are you the' movie-man' ? "
" Yes," I said, sitting up. " What's up ? "
" Well, I'm hanged; I'm glad l've tound you.
54 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
Do you know, I asked several Johnnies down the
line if you were in the trenches and they laughed at
me ; asked me if I had been drinking.; they thought
I was pulling their leg. 'A movle man m the
trenches,' they said, in tones of amazement ; 'not
likely ! ' I told them that you were here last night,
and that you are here to fihn the attack. Well, any-
way, this is what I have tome for. The Colonel
sent me--you know him--to sec if you would film a
company of our men in occupation of Sunken Road.
They occupied it during the night without a single
casualty, by tunnelling for about fifty yards through
the parapet, under ' No Man's Land ' ; then sapped
up and into the road. Ifs a fine piece of work,'"
he said, " and would make a good picture."
" Rather," I said ; " l'll tome. It will be
splendid from the historical point of view. Can you
let me have a guide, to show me the quickest and
best way ? "
" Yes, I will send one of our pioneers ; he will
guide you," he said. " Let me knoxv hov you get on,
won't you ? And, if possible, when you return call
in and sec the Colonel. He will be frightfully
" Right-o ! "" I said. " By Gad ! ifs bally cold.
My teeth won't hold still. Push that man along,
and l'll get off."
" Au revoir," he called out as he left. " Sec you
The guide turned up a few minutes afterwards ;
he took the tripod, I the camera. I started off and
entered King Street, making my way towards the
firing trench. I bave described in previous chapters
what it was like to be under an intense bombard-
ment. I have attempted to analyse my feelings
when lying in the trenches vith shells bursting
directly overhead. I have been in all sorts of places,
under heavy shell-fire, but for intensity and near-
IN THE SUNKE. RCt.D .T BEAUMONT IIAMEI, JUSI" BEI-'ORE ZER« HO|'R
.II_ILY IS]' I016. MV I-XI'ERIENCES IN GE'F'I'ING I.NI'« I'HIS lq.A«'l' AT
6.'90 A.M. REMAIN "FILE MOST VIVID OF AI l.
IN A TRENCH MORTAR TUNNEL, DI_IRIN TtiE BATTLE OF 'I'IIF. SOMME
AT BEAUMONT HA),IEI, Jt'LV IST, 1916
THE DAWN OF JULY FIRST 1.55
ness--nothing--absolutely nothing--compared with
,the frightful and demoralising nature of the shell-fire
which I experienced during that journey.
I had only just reached King Street, when it
started on that section. Bosche was fairly plaster-
ing the whole trench, and smashing down our
parapets in the most methodical manner. Four
men passed me, with horrible wounds ; another was
being carried on the shoulders of his comrades, one
arm being blown clean off, leaving flesh and
remnants of cloth hanging down in a horrible
manner. The shells fell in front, overhead and
I bent low and rushed through traverse after
traverse, halting when a shell burst in the trench
itself round the next bend, sending a ghastly blast
of flame and choking fumes full in my face. Atone
point I halted, hardly knowing which way to go;
my guide was crouching as low as possible on the
ground. The further I went, the worse if got;
shrieking, splitting shells seemed to envelop us. I
looked back. The same. In front, another burst ;
the flames swept right into my face. If I had been
standing up it would have killed me without a doubt.
To go back was as dangerous as fo advance, and fo
stay where I was--well, it was worse, if anything.
Truth to tell, I had gone so far now that I did not
like turning back ; the picture of our men in Sunken
Road attracted me like a magnet.
" Go on," I shouted to the guide. " We'll get
through somehow. Are you game ? "
" Yes, sir," said he.
We ran round the next traverse, and had fo
scramble over a heap of débris caused by a shell a
few moments before.
" Look out, sir t There are some dead men here,
and the parapet has practically disappeared. Get
down on your stomach and crawl along."
156 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
Phut-bang! The shells crashed on the parapet
with the rapidity of machine-gun tire.
I went down, and crawled along over the dead
bodies of some of out lads killed only a few minutes
belote. If couldn't be helped. Purgatory, in ail
its hideous shapes and forms, could not possibly be
worse than this j ourney. If seemed years getting
through that hellish tire.
" How much more ? " I yelled out.
" We are quite near now, sir; about twenty
" Rush for it, then--rush."
I did, and my guide pulled up quickly af the
entrance of what seemed like a mine.
" Incline in here, sir," he said, and disappeared.
I followed. N ever in all my experience had I
welcomed cover as I did at that moment.
" Hold on a bit," I said, " for rive minutes'
The tunnel was no more than tvo feet six inches
wide and rive feet high. Men inside were passing
ammunition from one fo the other in an endless
chain and disappearing into the bowels of the
The shaft took a downward trend. It was only
by squeezing past the munition bearers that we were
able to proceed af all, and in some places it was
impossible for more than one to crush through at a
rime. By the light of an electric torch, stuck in the
mud, I was able to see the men. They were wet with
perspiration, steaming, in fact; stripped to the waist;
working like Trojans, each doing the work of six
The journey seemed endless. I could tell by the
position that I was climbing. My guide was still in
front, and letting me know of his whereabouts by
shouting : " Straight ahead, sir ! Mind this hole ! "
The latter part of the shatt seemed practically
THE DAWN OF JULY FIRST 157
upright. I dragged my camera along by the strap
attached fo the case. It was impossible fo carry it.
We were nearing daylight. I could see a gleam
only a few feet away. Af last we came fo the exit.
My guide was there.
" Keep down low, sir. This sap is only four feet
deep. It's been done during the night, about fifty
yards of it. We are in 'No Man's Land' now,
and if the Germans had any idea we were here,
the place would soon be an inferno."
" Go ahead," I said. It was diflïcult to imagine
we were midway between the Hun lines and out own.
It was practically inconceivable. The shell-fire
seemed just as bad as ever behind in the trenches,
but here if was simply heavenly. The only thing
one had to do was to keep as low as possible and
wriggle along. The ground sloped downwards.
The end of the sap came in sight. My guide was
crouching there, and in Iront of him, about thirty
feet away, running af right angles on both sides,
was a roadway, overgrown with grass and pitted
with shell-holes. The bank immediately in Iront
was lined with the stumps of trees and a rough hedge,
and there lined up, crouching as close to the bank
as possible, were some of our men. They were the
Lancashire Fusiliers, with bayonets fixed, and ready
to spring forward.
" Keep low as you run across the road, sir. The
Bosche can see right along it; make straight for
the other side." With that he tan across, and I
followed. Then I set my camera up and filmed the
scene. I had to take every precaution in getting my
machine in position, keeping if close to the bank,
as a false step would have exposed the position to
the Bosche, who would have immediately turned on
H.E. shrapnel, and might have enfiladed the whole
road from either flank.
I filmed the waiting Fusiliers. Some of them
158 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
looked happy and gay, others sat with stern, set
faces, realising the great task in front of them.
I had finished taking my scenes, and asked an
officer if the Colonel was there.
" No, but you may find him in ' White
City.' He was there about an hour ago. Great
heavens," he said, " who would have believed that
a ' movic-man ' vould be here, the nearest point fo
Bosche lines on the whole front. You must like your
job. Hanged if I envy you. Anyway, hope fo see
you affer the show, if I haven't 'gone West.'
Cheero," and with that he left me.
Packing up my camera, I prepared to return.
Time was getting on. It was now 6.30 a.m. The
attack was timed for 7.20. As I wanted fo obtain
some scenes of out men taking up their final positions,
I told my guide to start.
" Duck as low as possible," I said, " when you
cross the road." I
" We can't go yet, sir; munitions are being
brought through, and, as you know, there isn't room
to pass one another."
I waited until the last man had corne in from the
sap, then, practically on hands and knees, made for
the sap mouth.
" Cheer up, boys," I shouted to the men as I
parted from them, " best of luck ; hope to see you
in the village."
" Hope so, sir," came a general chorus in reply.
Again I struggled through the narrow slit, then
down the shaff and finally into the tunnel. We
groped out way along as best we could. The place
was full of men. It was only possible to get my
tripod and camera along by passing it from one to
another. Then as the men stooped low I stepped
over them, eventually 'reaching the other end--and
The " strafe "was still on, but not quite so violent.
THE DAWN OF JULY FIRST 159
Our parapets were in a sorry condition, battered out
of ail shape.
Returning through King Street, I was just in rime
to film some of the men fixing bay'onets before being
sent to their respective stations in the firing trench.
The great moment was drawing near. I admit I was
feeling a wee bit nervous. The mental and nervous
excitement under such conditions was very great.
Every one was in a state of suppressed excitement.
On the way I passed an officer I knew.
" Are you going over ? " I said.
" Rather," he replied, " the whole lot of us.
Some stunt, eh ! "
" Don't forger," I said, " the camera will be on
you ; good luck! "
Bidding my man collect the tripod and camera,
I made for the position on Jacob's Ladder. But I
was to receive a rude shock. The shelling of the
morning had practically blown it all down. But
there was sufficient for a clearance ail around for my
purpose, and sufficient shelter against stray bits of
shrapnel. I prepared to put up my camera. Not
quite satisfied, I left it about thirty yards away, to
view the situation quickly, as there were only twenty
minutes to go. Hardly had I left the machine than
a " whizz-bang " fell and struck the parapet im-
mediately above the ladder, tumbling the whole lot
of sandbags down like a pack of cards.
It was a lucky escape for me. The position was
absolutely no use now, and I had to choose another.
Time was short. I hastily fixed my camera on the
side of the small bank, this side of our firing trench,
with my lens pointing towards the Hawthorn
Redoubt, where the mine--the largest " blown " on
the British Front--was going up. It was loaded
with twenty tons of a new explosive of tremendous
destructive power, and it had taken seven months
16o HOW I FILMED THE WAR
Gee, what an awakening for Bosche !
My camera was now set ready fo start exposing.
I looked along the trench. The men were ready and
waiting the great moment.
One little group was discussing the prospects of
a race across " No Man's Land."
" Bet you, Jim, l'll get there first."
" Right-o ! How much ? "
" A day's p y, was the reply.
" Take me on, too, will you ? " said another hero.
" Yes. Saine terres, eh ? Good enough."
" Say Bill," he called to his pal, " pay up from
my cash if I ' go West.' "
" Shut up, Iathead; we have to kill Huns,
' strafe ' them."
I turned away fo speak to an officer as to the
" Very good," he said. "I hope they don't
plaster out trenches before all the men get out.
They are as keen as nmstard. Never known them
so bright. Look at them now ; ail smoking."
Out guns were still pounding heavily, and the din
and concuson was awful. To hear oneself speak
if was absolutely necessary fo shout.
" You are in a prety rocky position," some one
said to me. " Fritz will be sure fo plaster this front
pretty well as soon as out men ' get over.' "
" Can't help it," I said ; " my machine must have
a clear view. I must take the risk. How's the time
going . "
" It's ' seven-ten ' now," he said.
" I ara going to stand by. Cheero ; best of luck ! "
I left him, and stood by my machine. The minutes
dragged on. Still the guns crashed out. The German
tire had died down a bit during the last half-hour.
I glanced down out trenches. The officers were
giving final instructions. Every man was in his
place. The first fo go over would be he engineers,
THE DAWN OF JULY FIRST 161
fo wire the crater. They were all ready, crouching
down, with their implements in their hands.
Time : 7.15 a.m. !
Heavens! how the minutes dragged. If seemed
like a lifetime waiting there. My nerves were strung
up to a high pitch ; my heart was thumping like a
steam-hammer. I gave a quick glance at an officer
close by. He was mopping the perspiration from
his brow, and clutching his stick, first in one hand
then in the other--quite unconsciously, I am sure.
He looked at his watch. Another three minutes
Would nothing ever happen ?
THE DAY AND THE HOUR
A Mighty Convulsion Signalises the Commencement of Operations---
Then Our t3oys " Go Over the Top "--A Fine Film Obtained
whilst Shells Rained Around Me--My Apparatus is Struck---But,
Thank Goodncss. the Camera is Safe--Arrival ot the Wounded--
" Ana I in the Picture ? "' they ask.
IME" 7.I9 a.m. My hand grasped the
handle of the camera. I set my teeth.
My whole mind was concentrated upon
my work. Another thirty seconds passed.
started turning the handle, two revolutions per
second, no more, no less. I noticed how regxllar I
was turning. (My object in exposing hall a minute
beforehand was fo get the naine from the moment
it broke ground.) I fixed my eyes on the Redoubt.
Any second now. Surely it was rime. It seemed fo
me as if I had been turning for hours. Great
heavens ! Surely it had not misfired.
Why doesn't it go up ?
I looked af my exposure dial. I had used over
a thousand feet. The horrible thought flashed
through my mind, that my film might run out before
the mine blew. Would it go up before I had rime fo
reload ? The thought brought beads of perspira-
tion to my forehead. The agony was awful;
indescribable. My hand began to shake. Another
250 feet exposed. I had fo keep on.
Then if happened.
The ground where I stood gave a mighty con-
vulsion. It rocked and swayed. I gripped hold of
my tripod to steady myself. Then, for all the world
I'HE «PENIN¢ «F "IHE I;REAI" BAT'I'iE OF i'HE SOMMi', .IUIV IST, 1916.
AF 7.20 A.M. "1"1-11:4 H[rGE MI\lg I.OAI»ED V,, ITtl 20 "lOiN.", OF A3,11\«I A'['IICH
|'OOK 7 MC'-NIH', 1"¢3 MAKF,, VA.% SPRI.'NI; ['NIER "i|IE ;I-.RMAN "IRF.NI'|II/',
.AF BEAI'MONT [IAMEI
THE DAY AND THE HOUR 163
like a gigantic sponge, the earth rose in the air fo
the height of hundreds of feet. Higher and higher
it rose, and with a horrible, grinding roar the earth
fell back upon itself, leaving in its place a rnountain
of srnoke. Frorn the rnornent the mine went up rny
feelings changed. The crisis was over, and frorn that
second I was cold, cool, and calculating. I looked
upon all that followed frorn the purely pictorial point
of view, and even felt annoyed if a shell burst out-
side the range of rny carnera. Why couldn't Bosche
put that shell a little nearer ? It would rnake a
better picture. And so rny thoughts ran on.
The earth was down. I swung rny carnera round
on to our own parapets. The engineers were
swarrning over the top, and strearning along the
sky-line. Our guns redoubled their tire. The
Germans then started H.E. Shrapnel began falling
in the rnidst of out advancing rnen. I continued to
turn the handle of rny carnera, viewing .the whole
attack through rny view-finder, first swmging one
way and then the other.
Then another signal rang out, and from the
trenches irnrnediately in front of rne, our wonderful
troops went over the top. What a picture it was!
They went over as one man. I could see while I was
exposing, that nurnbers were shot down before they
reached the top of the parapet; others just the
other side. They went across the ground in swarrns,
and rnarvel upon rnarvels, still srnoking cigarettes.
One man actually stopped in the rniddle of " No
Man's Land " to light up again.
The Germans had by now realised that the great
attack had corne. Shrapnel poured into our trenches
with the object of keeping our supports frorn corning
up. They had even got their " crurnps " and high-
explosive shrapnel into the rniddle of our boys
before they were half-way across " No Man's Land."
But still they kept on. At that moment rny spool
164 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
tan out. I hurriedly loaded up again, and putting
the first priceless spool in my case, I gave if fo my
man in a dug-out to take care of, impressing upon
him that he must hOt leave it under any clrcum-
stances. If anything unforeseen happened he was to
take it back to Headquarters.
I rushed back fo my machine again. Shells were
exploding quite close fo me. At least I was told so
afterwards by an officer. But I was so occupied
with my work that I was quite unconscious of their
proximity. I began filming once more. The first lot
of men, or rather the remainder of them, had dis-
appeared in the haze and smoke, punctured by
bursting shells. What was happening in the German
lines I did not know. Other men were coming up
and going over the top. The German machine-gun
tire was not quite so deadly now, but out men
suffered badly from shell-fire. On several occasions
I noticed men run and take temporary cover in the
shell-holes, but their ranks were being terribly
Still more went over, and still a stream of men
were making for the mine crater; they then dis-
appeared in the smoke. The noise was terrific. It
was as if the earth were lifting bodily, and crashing
against some immovable object. The very heavens
seemed to be falling. Thousands of things were
happening af the saine moment. The mind could
not begin fo grasp the barest margin of if.
The German shells were crashing ail round me.
Dirt was being flung in my face, cutting it like
whipcord. My only thought was whether any of it
had struck my lens and ruade it dirty, for this would
bave spoiled my film. I gave a quick glance af if.
If was quite all right.
Fearful fighting was taking place in the German
trenches. The heavy rattle of machine-guns, the
terrible din of exploding bombs, could be heard
THE DAY AND THE HOUR 165
above the pandemonium. Our men had ceased fo
flow from our trenches. I crept fo the top of the
parapet, and looked towards the left of the village
of Beaumont Hamel. Our guns were bursting on the
other side of the village, but I could distinguish
nothing else as fo how things were going.
I asked an oflîcer who was standing close by.
" God knows," he replied. " Everything over
there is so mixed up. The General said this was the
hardest part of the line fo get through, and my word
if seems like if, fo look at our poor lads."
I could see them strewn ail over the ground, swept
down by the accursed machine-gun tire.
A quick succession of shell-bursts attracted my
attention. Back to my camera position. Another
lot of our men were going over the top. I began
exposing, keeping them in my camera view all the
time, as they were crossing, by revolving my tripod
Shell after shell crashed in the middle of them,
leaving ghastly gaps, but other men quickly filled
them up, passing through the smoke, and over the
bodies of their comrades, as if there were no such
thing as a shell in ail the world. Another spool ran
out, making the fourth since the attack started.
I gave if in charge of my man, with the saine instruc-
tions as before. I loaded again, and had just started
exposing. Something attracted my attention on the
extreme left. What if was I don't know. I ceased
turning, but still holding the handle, I veered round
the front of my camera. The next moment, with a
shriek and a flash, a shell fell and exploded before
I had rime to take shelter. If was only a few feet
away. What happened after I hardly know. There
was the grinding crash of a bursting shell; some-
thing struck my tripod, the whole thing, camera and
ail, was flung against me. I clutched if and staggered
back, holding if in my arms. I dragged if into a
I66 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
shrapnel-proof shelter, sat down and looked for the
damage. A piece of the shell had struck the tripod
and cut the legs clean in half, on one side, carrying
about six inches of if away. The camera, thank
heaven, was untouched.
Calling my man, we hastily round some pieces of
wood, old telephone wire and string, and vithin an
hour had improvised legs, rigid enough to continue
I again set up my camera. Our gun-fire was still
terrible, but the Germans had shortened their range
and were evidently putting a barrage on our
lnen, who had presumably reached the enemy's
iront trenches. Nobody knew anything definitely.
Wounded men began to arrive. There was a rush
" How are things going ? " we asked.
" We have taken their first and second line," said
An ofiïcer passed on a stretcher.
" How are things going ? "
" God knows," he said. " I believe we have got
through their first line and part of the village, but
don't know whether we shall be able to hold out ; we
have been thinned shockingly."
" Have you been successful ?" he asked me.
" Yes, l've got the whole of the attack."
" Good man," he said.
First one rumour then another came through.
There was nothing definite. The fighting over
there was furious. I filmed various scenes of
our wounded coming in over the parapet; then
through the trenches. Lines of them were awaiting
Scenes crowded upon me. Wounded and more
wounded ; men who a few hours beiore had leaped
over the parapet full of lire and vigour were now
dribbling back. Some of them shattered and broken
THE DAY AND THE HOUR 16 7
for lire. But it was one of the most glorious charges
ever made in the history of the world. These men
had done their bit.
" Hullo," I said to one passing through on a
srecher, " got a ' blighty ' ? "
" Yes, sir," he said; " rather sure Blighty for
" And for me too," said another lad lying wffh him
waifing attention, "I shan't be able to play footer
any more. Look ! " I followed the direction of his
finger, and could see through the rough bandages
that his foot had been taken completely off. Yet he
was still cheerful, and smoking.
A grea± many asked me as they came through :
" Was I in the picture, sir ? " I had to say " yes "
to them all, which pleased them immensely.
Sfill no definite news. The heavy firing con-
tinued. I noticed several of our wounded men lying
in shell-holes in " No Man's Land." They were
calling for assistance. Every rime a Red Cross man
attempted to get near them, a hidden German
machine-gun fired. Several were killed whiist trying
to bring in the wounded. The cries of one poor
fellow attracted the attention of a trench-mortar
man. He asked for a volunteer to go with him, and
bfing ±he poor fellow in. A man stepped forward,
and together they climbed the parapet, and threaded
their way through the barbed wlre very slowly.
Nearer and nearer they crept. We stood wa±ching
with bated breath. Would they reach him ? Yes.
At last ! Then hastily binding up the injured man's
wounds they picked him up between them, and
with a run made for our parapet. The swine of a
German blazed away at them with his machine-
gun. But marvellous to relate neither of them were
I filmed the rescue from the start to the finish,
until they passed me in the trench, a mass of
168 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
perspiration. Upon the back of one was the un-
conscious man he had rescued, but twenty minutes
after these two had gone through hell to rescue him,
the poor fellow died.
During the day those two men rescued twenty
men in this fashion under heavy tire.
TliF, ROI.l. CAl.i, o1." "FILE SI.AFORTIlS Al" "' W]IITE CITY,'" RFA! MON'i"
llAMEI., .IUIY /S'I', I@I6
FA(;GED OUT IN THE 'WHiIE CITV'" AF'I'I'R WE RI';'FIREI TO OUR
TRENCHES, JUI.V I,1". 19119. SO'ME OF TIIE INCOMI'ARABI.E 2qTti
ROLL-CALL AFTER THE FIGHT
A Glorious Band of Wounded Heroes Stagger Into Line and Answer the
CallmI Visit a Stricken Friend in a Dug-outmOn the Way to La
Boisselle I Get Lost in the Trenches--And Whilst Filming
expectedly Corne Upon the German Line--I Have a Narr,,w
Squeak of Being Crumped--But Get Away Safely--And later
Commandeer a Couple of German Prisoners to Act as Porters.
HE day wore on. The success of the fight-
ing swayed first this way, then that. The
casualties mounted higher and higher. Men
were coming back into our trenches maimed and
broken ; they all had different tales fo tell. I passed
along talking to and cheering our wonderful men
as much as I could. And the Germans, to add fo this
ghastly whirlpool of horror, threw shell after shell
into the dressing station, killing and wounding
afresh the gallant lads who had gone " over the
top " that morning. They seemed fo know of this
place and played upon it with a gloating, fiendish
glee worthy only .of unspeakable savages.
As I was passlng one group of wounded, I ran
against my doctor friend of the night before.
" Busy day for you ? " I said.
" My word, yes," he replied. " They are coming
faster than I can attend fo them. I ara just off to see
P He's caught it badly."
" Sefious ? " I asked.
"Yes, rather ; in the back. He's in the dug-out."
And the doctor rushed away. I followed him.
P was lying there on a stretcher looking ghastly.
The doctor was bending over him. Poor old chap.
17o HOW I FILMED THE WAR
Only that morning he had hooked me oui to film the
sunken road scenes as full of lire and hope as any-
one could conceive. Now he was on his back, a
broken wreck. In the trenches there were hundreds
of cases as bad, or even worse, but lhey did not
affect me. There were far too many for the mind to
fully grasp their meaning. But down here in this
dark dug-out, twenty feet below the earth, the
sombre surroundings only illuminated by a guttering
candle in a bottle, I was far more affected. Il was
nalural though, for one always feels things more
when some one one knows is concerned.
P-- was the first to speak.
" Hullo, old man," he said in a husky, low voice.
" You've pulled through ? "
" Yes," I replied. " But ' touchwood ' ! I'm so
sorry. Anyway, you're all right for ' Blighty,'" and
fo cheer him up I coninued in a bantering strain :
" You knew how to manage if, eh ? Jolly artful, you
know." His face lighted up with a wan stalle.
"Yes, Malins, rather a long ' Blighty,' I'm afraid."
Two stretcher-bearers came in ai that moment lo
take him away. With difficulty they got him out
of the trench, and grasping his hand I bade him
" I'm glad you got out boys, Malins. I do so want
to see that film," were his last words.
" l'Il show it to you when I get back to England,"
I called after him, and then he disappeared.
The fighting was now beginning to die down. The
remnants of four regiments were coming in. Each
section was accumulating in spaces on their own.
I realised that the roll-call was about to take place.
I filmed them as lhey staggered forward and dropped
down utterly worn oui, body and soul. By an almost
superhuman effort many of them staggered to their
feet again, and formed lhemselves into an irregular
ROLL-CALL AFTER THE FIGHT 171
In one little space there were just two rhin linesw
all that was left of a glorious regiment (barely one
hundred men). I filmed the scene as it unfolded
itself. The sergeant stood there with note-book
resting on the end of his rifle, repeatedly putting
his pencil through names that were missing. This
.picture .was one of the most wonderful, the most
lmpresslve that can be conceived. It ought to be
painted and hung in all the picture galleries of the
world, in all the schools and public buildings, and
out children should be taught to regard it as the
standard of man's self-sacrifice.
I stayed in the trenches until the following day,
filming scene after scene of out wounded. I learned
that nothing more was to be attempted until later,
when ffesh divisions were to be brought up. Know-
ing this I decided to leave this section of the trenches.
But the ghastly scenes of which I was witness will
always remain a hideous nightmare in my memory,
though I thank God I had been spared to fihn
such tremendous scenes of supreme heroism and
sacrifice in the cause of freedom.
I got safely back through the trenches to , where
Brigade H.Q. told me of an urgent message from
G.H.Q. I was to report as soon as possible. On my
way I called on General , who was delighted to
hear I had successfully filmed the attack, the record
of which would show the world how gloriously out
men had fought.
Reaching advanced G.H.Q. I reported myself. All
were pleased to see me sale and sound, and to hear
of my success. I was told that lively things were
happening at La Boisselle. I heard also how suc-
cessful out troops had been in other parts of the line.
Fricourt and Mametz and a dozen other villages had
fallen to out victorious troops. This news put new
lire into me. At La Boisselle they said we had
pushed through, and fighting was still going
172 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
on. I decided to leave for that district right
Passing through AlberE, I halted the car at the top
of Becourt Wood. From this point I had fo walk.
In the distance I could see hundreds of shells burst-
ing, and guns were thundering out. I gave one
camera fo my orderly and another had the tripod.
Taking the second camera myself, I started off. We
thieaded out way through the wood and out into
the trenches. Shells were falling close by, but by
hugging the parapet we got along fairly well.
The communication trench seemed interminable.
" Where the deuce ara I ? " I asked an officer in
passing. " I want to get to out front trenches."
" You want to go the other way. This trench
leads back to -- "
This was anything but cheering news. I had been
wa.lking for about an bout, always seeming to just
mlss the right turning. Truth to tell I had failed to
provide myself with a trench map, and it was my
first time in this section. The bursting shells were
filling up the trenches, and I was becoming absolutely
fogged. So, in sheer desperation--for the bombard-
ment was getting more intense and I was afraid
of losing pictures--I climbed on to the parapet to
look round. What a scene of desolation. The first
thing I saw was a dead German. That didn't help to
cheer me up overmuch. Making a slight detour I
stopped to fix the Hun front line if possible. Out
own I could see. But no matter where I looked the
Bosche line was apparently non-existent. Yet out
shells were smashing into the ground, which seemed
to be absolutely empty.
I set up my camera and started to expose. While
doing so I happened to glance down, for I must
explain that I was on a slight mound. Which was
the most surprised--the Bosche or myself--I do not
know, for less than a hundred yards away was the
ROLL-CALL AFTER THE FIGHT 73
German line. I stopped turning. Immediately I did
so bullets came singing unpleasantly past my head.
I dropped fiat on Che ground, which luckily for me
was slightly protected by a ridge of earth. I dragged
the camera down on top of me and, lying fiat, the
bullets whizzed by overhead. The Bosche must
have thought he had got me, Ior in a few moments tire
ceased. I wriggled towards the trench and dropped
like a log into the bottom, dragging my camera aIter
me. One oI my men had followed, and seeing me
drop, did the saine. He came tumbling head first
into the trench.
" That was a near squeak, sir," he said. " Yes,
corne on, they will probably start shelling us. Cut
through here. I noticed some German prisoners
coming this way. I must get them. Where's le
other man ? Keep him close up."
Reaching a trench through which the German
prisoners were being led, I hurriedly fixed my camera
and filmed them shambling in, holding their hands
up, their nerves completely shattered by the inten-
sity of out terrific bombardment. Some were
covered with wounds, others were carrying out
wounded Tommies in on stretchers. It was an
extraordinary sight. Ten minutes before these men
were doing their utmost fo kill each other. Now,
ffiend and foe were doing their best to help each
other. Shells were dropping close by. One fell in Che
midst of a group of prisoners and, bursting, killed
fourteen and wounded eleven. The others were
Whether I had been spotted or hot, I do hot know,
but German shells were crumping unpleasantly near.
I was just thinking of moving when another burst so
close that if ruade me quickly decide. I looked round
for my men. One was there ; the other was missing.
" Get into a dug-ou," I yelled. "Where s
x74 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
" Don't know, sir," he said.
He dived into a dug-out af the first shell which
burst near. Af that moment another " crump "
crashed down and exploded with a crunching roar,
throwing a large quantity of earth all around me.
One after another came over in quick succession.
"W'here the devil is that fellow ? " I said to
" He's got my aeroscope. When brother Fritz has
smoothed down this little 'strafe' I will try and
" He was in that section, sir, where I3osche
For over hall an hour the crumping continued,
then if practically ceased. The Bosche evidently
lhought he had distributed us to the four winds of
heaven. I emerged from my shelter and hurriedly
ran along the trench fo find my man. He was
nowhere fo be found. Several dug-outs had been
smashed in, and in one place the water in the trench
was deep red with blood, and wading through this
was anything but pleasant. At that moment a
telephone man came up.
" Can you tell me, sir, if there is a machine-gun
position hereabouts ? I have been sent to run a
wire." I was just replying when a crump came
" Duck," I yelled, and duck we did. I tried to
cover the whole of my body under my steel helmet,
and crouching low on the ground, the crump burst
just on the parapet above, showering huge lumps of
dirt which clattered upon us.
" You had better get out of this," I said, and
suiting the action to the word I attempted to run,
when another crump burst, this rime in the traverse
close behind. Well, which of us ran the fastest for
cover I don't know, but I was a good second !
The non-appearance of my other man worried me.
He was nowhere tobe found. It occurred to me that
ROLL-CALL AFTER THE FIGHT 175
as he did hOt find me on emerging from his dug-out,
and as if was coming on fo tain, he had returned fo
the car thinking he might find me there. Packing
up my camera, herefore, I stared off, passing more
prisoners on the way. I promptly collared two of
them fo carry my tripod and camera, and as we
proceeded I could no restrain a smile af the sight
of two German prisoners hurrying along with my
outfit, and a grinning Tommy with his inevitable
cigarette between his lips, and a bayonet at the
ready, coming up behind. I¢ was too funny for
When I reached the car my lost man was not there.
I enquired of several battle-police and strctcher-
bearers if they had seen a man of his description
wandering about, and carrying a leather case, but
nobody had seen him. Af ter having a sandwich, I
decided to go again to the Iront line fo find him.
I could not leave him there. I must find out some-
thing definite. On my way down I made further
enquiries, but without result. I searched around
those trenches until I was soaked fo the skin and
fagged out, but not a trace of him could I discover ;
not even my camera or pieces of if. The only thing
that could bave happened, I thought, was that he had
got into a dug-out, and the entrance had been blown
in by heavy shell-fire.
Retracing my steps I examined several smashed
dug-outs. It was impossible to even attempt to lift
the rubble. With gloomy thoughts I returned
again to the car, and on my journey back left instruc-
tions with various men to report anything found to
the town major at -- I stayed the night in the
vicinity in the hope of receiving news; but not a
scrap came through. Again next day, and the next,
I hunted the trenches, unsuccessfully, and finally
I came fo the conclusion that he had been killed and
decided to post him as missing. I had arrived af this
176 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
decision whilst resting on the grass at the top of
Becourt Wood and was making a meal of bully and
biscuits when, looking up, I saw what I took to be
an apparition of my missing man walking along the
road and carrying a black case. I could scarcely
believe my eyes.
" Where the devil bave you been ? " I asked.
" I was just on my way back to post you as missing.
What bas happened ? '"
" Well, sir, it was like this. When that shell burst
I dived into a dug-out, and was quite all right. Then
another shell burst and struck the entrance, smash-
ing it in. I bave been all this rime trying fo get out.
Then I lost my way and--weI1, sir, here I ara. But
your camera case is spoilt." So ended his adventure.
Thinking that the films I had obtained of the
Somme fighting should be given to the public as
quickly as possible, I suggested to G.H.Q.--and
they fully agreed--that I should return fo England
without delay. So packing up my belongings I
returned fo London next day.
Little rime was Iost in developing and printing the
pictures, and the Military authorities, recognising
what a splendid record they presented of " The
Great Push," had copies prepared without delay for
exhibition throughout the length and breadth of the
land ; in our Dependencies over seas, and in neutral
countries. They were handled with vonderful
celerity by Mr. Will Jury, a member of the War
Office Committee, and put out through the business
organisation over which he so ably presides. It is
sufficient here to record the deep and abiding im-
pression created by the appearance of the films on
the screen. People crowded the theatres fo see the
pictures ; thousands were turned away ; and if bas
been estimated that the number of those who bave
seen these Official War Films must run into many
THE GERMANS MAKE A BIG COUNTRR ATTACK AT LA BOIbSELI.E AND
¢X'II I.ERS. JULY 3RD AND 4TII, 196
MEN OF SCOTLAND RUSHING A MINE CRAIER Al" THE DEADIV
ROLL-CALL AFTER THE FIGHT 177
The Somme Film has proved a mighty instrument
in ihe service of recruiing; he newspapers sill
ialk of ifs astounding realism, and if is generally
admitied that he greai kinemaograph picture has
done much 4o help he people of he British Empire
to realise he wonderful spirit of out men in he face
of almost insuperable difficulies ; the splendid way
in which out grea citizen army has been organised ;
the vastness of the military machine we have creaed
during he las wo and a half years; and the
immensity of the ask which still faces us.
His Majesy the King has declared tha "the
public should see these pictures "; and Mr. Lloyd
George, after witnessing a display of he film, sent
forth he following hrilling message to he nation:
"Be up and doing! See hat this picture, which
is in itself an epic of self-sacrifice and gallantry,
reaches every one. Herald the deeds of out brave
men 4o the ends of the earh. This is your duy."
A thrilling message truly, and I am proud indeed
fo think tha I have been permitted to play my part
in he iaking and making of this wonderful film.
EDITING A BATTLE FILM
The Process Described in Detail--Developing the Negative--Its
Projection on the Screen--Cutting--Titling--Joining--Printing
the Positive--13uilding Up the Story--It is Submitted to the
Military Censors at General Headquarters--And After Being Cut
and Approved by Them--Is Ready for Public Exhibition.
N view of the immense and widespread interest
aroused by the appearance of the Somme
Film, it may perhaps be permissible to depart
for a spell from the narration of my story, in order
to explain briefly, for the benefit of those interested,
how such a picture is prepared, and the various
processes through which it must necessarily pass
belote it is ready for public exhibition.
The process is technically known as " editing,"
and it must be admitted that this part of the work
more nearly approaches the art of the newspaper
editor than any other I know. Indeed, I am not
sure that the functions of the film editor--at least
in the case of a picture such as the Somme Film--
do not call for a greater exercise of discretion,
diplomacy and tact; for so many interests have
to be taken into account ; so much has to be leIt
out, for so much is at stake.
Time and thought is doubly intensified in editing
or cutting up the film in all its various scenes and
assembling them in their right order with suitable
sub-titles. Immediately films arrive in London
they are sent by the-War Office fo the works, and
there in a long dark-room, with many compart-
ments, the film is wound upon wooden frames, about
EDITING A BATTLE FILM
three feet by four feet. Each section as it is un-
wound from the roll is numbered by a perforated
machine, to save the unnecessary handling that
would otherwise be caused if one had to wade
through all the small sections to j oin in the original
lengths in which they are received.
The frames are then taken into the developing-
room, where they are placed in tanks of developing
mixture, warmed to a temperature of about sixty-
rive degrees. It is there that the technique of a
developing expert asserts itself ; he can either make
or mar a film. During development the picture is
carefully rinsed, and eventually it is ready for
fixing. It is taken out, washed in a bath of pure
water, and then dropped into an acid fixing bath
and there allowed to remain until fixation is com-
plete, usually a matter of about fiffeen minutes.
The films are then taken to the washing-room,
where they are placed in huge tanks, taking from
fifty to one hundred frames, and each one holding
one hundred and twenty feet of films. Jets of water
run continually over them, and in an hour they are
taken out and sent to the drying-room, where the
film is rewound whilst wet upon very large drums,
about thirty feet long and seven feet in diameter.
An electric motor is then started, and the drum
revolves at an ever-increasing speed. Drum after
drum is loaded in the saine way, until the whole
of the film is in position and the whirling continues
until the negative is perfectly dry.
Cleanliness in every possible respect is absolutely
essential during the process of development, until
the film is dry once more. The most minute speck
of dust or foreign marrer might adhere to the wet
emulsion permanently disfiguring if. Therefore to
avoid this the utmost care must be maintained
throughout, and the negative is now ready to be
projected on the screen for the fir»t time in order
18o HOW I FILMED THE WAR
to see that itis technically perfect in quality, and to
decide upon the possibilities of a big feature film,
or a series of short ones.
For simplicity's sake we will assume that we are
dealing with a subject such as the Battle of the
Somme, approximately rive thousand feet in length.
As the film is projected, notes are taken of each
scene in strict rotation. The negative, as in the
ordinary process of photography, is quite the reverse
to the film shown in the picture theatre. The black
portions of the picture as we see if on the screen are
white, and all whites are black. It therefore calls
for a highly trained eye fo be able to follow the film.
Only now do I find out whether the scenes I have
taken live up to my expectations. Sometimes yes
--sometimes no. One great drawback is that the
sounds are not there! When the projection is
finished the whole of the negative is taken fo the
cutting and joining-room. I take every reel, and
each scene is cut out separately and titled by means
of a label fastened fo the section by an elastic band.
So the process goes on until I have the whole
of the film cut up and registered. I often go through
each scene again separately and closely scrutinise
it, cutting out all blemishes, black stops, uninterest-
ing sections of the scene, and many other faults
which unavoidably present themselves. Belote
going further I should say that the film is " taken "
in lengths of four hundred feet, and they are always
kept af that length and in a separate tin box. Even
when they are cut up the sections go back into the
saine tin. Each box is taken in turn and numbered
one, two, three, four, rive, six, and so on. Number
one contains ten sections, representing ten scenes.
Each is labelled and every title is copied on a sheet
of foolscap, and each section numbered and credited
to box one. The process continues in this way
until the whole negative is registered.
EDITING A BATTLE FILM 181
Meantime I am mentally building up my film
story. In story form if must grip the interest of the
general public, and yet I have to keep fo strict
military correctness. I think of my main title.
That in itself is a great thing. It has to epitornise
the story of the whole film. It has fo be short and
if rnust " hold." The title once decided upon, the
first reel rnust deal with preparatory action. I then
take the lists prepared as described and call for my
sections. For instance, nurnber twenty section, box
fourteen; number twelve section, box six; and so
on, gradually building up the first reel. The sub-
titles rnust be appealing and concise, and in phrase-
ology that can be easily understood by ail.
Eventually reel number one is finished. All the
sections are i oined together, with spaces marked
for the titles. The saine process continues with the
other reels. Number two rnust finish their story so
far as preparatory action goes. You are then ready
for the thrill, and the harder you can hit that thrill
into reels three and four the greater the ultimate
success of the film. Reel rive finishes the story.
But after seeing a battle film through full of suffering
and agony, as if unavoidably rnust be fo be genuine,
you must hot leave the public with a biffer faste
in their mouth at the end. The filin takes you fo
the grave, but it must hot leave you there ; if shows
you death in all ifs grim nakedness ; but after that
itis essential that you should be restored to a sense
of cheerfulness and i oy. That i oy cornes of the
knowledge that in all this whirlpool of horrors out
lads continue fo smile the srnile of victory. There-
fore the film rnust finish with a touch of happiness
to send you home frorn the picture theatre with a
light heart--or at least as light a heart as circurn-
The film is now edited, and it goes into the printer's
hands. A positive print is ruade frorn it on film
182 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
stock, and after the printing the copies are returned
fo the dark-room and the process of developing is
gone through again, as in the case of a negative.
The print is then dried and j oined up in its right
order, and so divided that if makes rive reels. The
titles by this rime have been corrected from the
military point of view by the War Office, and are
printed for insertion in their appropriate position.
The length of reading marrer controls the length
of the title tobe printed. In some instances if wfll
take ten seconds fo read a title. Ten feet of film
is therefore necessary for insertion between the
scenes to explain them. In other cases three feet
of titling suffices.
The film is then shovn to the War Office officiais,
and once they have approved it, itis packed in a
safe and sent fo General Headquarters in France.
Here it is again projected in a specially constructed
theatre, before the chief censor and his staff, and it
may happen that certain incidents or sections are
deleted in view of their possible value fo the enemy.
These excisions are carefully marked and upon the
return of the film to London those sections are
taken out and kept for future reference. The film
is now ready for public exhibition.
THE HORRORS OF TRONES WOOD
Three Times I Try and Fail to Reach this Stronghold of thc Dead
Which Has Been Described as "" Hell on Earth "'--At a Dressing
Station Under Fire--Smoking Two Cigarettes at a Time to Neep
Off the Flies--Some Arnusing Trench Conversations by Men who
had Lost Their Way--I Turn in for the Night--And Have a
Dead Bosche for Company.
I HAVE just corne Irom England airer seeing the
Somme Film well on its way to the public. It
has caused a great sensation. I really thought
that some of the dead scenes would offend the
British public. And yet why should they ? It is
only a very mild touch of what is happening day
after day, week after week, on the bloody plains of
France and Belgium. Bloody ? Yes, inevitably so.
There never was such dearly bought land since
creation. The earth in the Somme district bas been
soaked with the blood of men. Sit out on a field a
mile or two from our Iront line any morning early,
when the mist is iust rising. Sit out there on the
ground which our boys bave Iought for and won.
The place reeks with the horrible stench of countless
decaying bodies, and every minute adds to their
But the British public did not obiect fo these
realistic scenes in the film. They realised that it
was their duty fo sec for themselves. They had
been told by the press; they had been told by
Parliament ; they had been told by lecturers what
was happening, but to no purpose. They must be
shown; they must sec with their own eyes. And
184 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
the kinematograph camera performed this service.
Has it justified itself ? I put that question to all
who bave seen the film. that effect did it have
upon you ? Did you remise till you saw it what
this vast battle-front was like ? Did you remise
what our Army was doing; how our wonderful
soldiers--your husbands, your sons, your brothers--
were driving the Huns back ; how they were going
fo their death with a laugh upon their faces and a
cigarette between their lips, fighting and dying like
true Britons ? That those who came back wounded
and broken still had that smile ?
Yes" the truth bas af last dawned upon you.
With that knowledge new resolutions were born
within you; resolutions that bade you never to
slack for an instant in your endeavour to bring
success to our arms.
Trones Wood! That naine had been drummed
into my ears for days. It seemed to bave a fascina-
tion for me. I asked several men to describe the
" Quite impossible, sir ; there baint anything
like it on earth, and if hell is at all like it then I
bave been there. It's dead; just dead---dead--
dead ! And the smell--awful."
" Is Fritz strafing there much ? "
" Yes, sir, he's at it all day" there's not room
for a cat to bide in, so why Fritz is dropping his
souvenirs there heaven knows ; I don't."
From the description the place seemed raher
satisfactory from a scenic point of view, so I made
up my mind to try and film it, as I wanted scenes
of heavy bombardment which I could get if Fritz
was concentrating upon the wood, for the Hun is
a tolerably safe person fo deal with if he bas a target
to tire af ; he is so methodical.
Goin i up by my car as far as the top of Camoy
Valley, I left it there near a dressing station.
THE HORRORS OF TRONES WOOD 185
"Strafing !'" I was out for "strafing," and by all
appearances I was likely fo get it hot and strong
before long. I had only iust stopped when a shell
came hurtling overhead, falling about one hundred
and fifty yards behind the dressing station. I went
over fo a doctor who was tending some wounded
men--our own and Germans.
" Has Fritz been sending you these souvenirs
very offen ? " I enquired.
The doctor rose, and mopping his forehead,
grinned and replied : " Yes ; the blighter won't let
us alone. Why doesn't he play cricket ? He must
know this is Red Coss. That sign there," pointing
fo a large Red Coss lying on the ground, " is large
enoug.h fo be seen by the men in Mars. Only this
mormng he put one bang through the roof of our
dug-out, rewounding a lot of our chaps lying there.
By the way, are you leaving your car there ? "
" Yes," I replied.
" Well, you had better say good-bye fo it ; several
of our ambulances bave been strafed there."
" Well," I said, " can't be helped ; it must take
its chance. I'm going to take a few scenes of
you at work. Where did these Bosches corne
from ? "
" This morning, from Guillemont ; our boys had
a bit of a stunt on and landed a few of the
I filmed various incidents showing the treatment
of wounded prisoners. They received the saine careful
attention as out own men ; whatever they asked for
they had. Several padres were kneeling down
beside our boys, taking down messages fo be sent
to their relatives.
Stretcher after stretcher with its human freight
of Briton and Hun was deposited on the ground.
Immediately doctors and orderlies were upon their
knees tending to their wants with a gentleness that
186 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
was wonderful. While I was there several shells
fell and exploded only a short distance away.
I lef the dressing station and paused upon a
mound near a tree stump, the top of which had
been carefully split off by shell-fire. I stood looking
in the direction of Trones. The Bosches were
" strafing " it pretty thoroughly. Away across at
Montaubon village Xhe saine thing was happening.
They were fairly watering Xhe place with H.E. and
shrapnel. Our guns were rattling out as well, and I
ara glad to say that iX sounded to me as though ours
were at least ten fo their one.
Well, the scenes had to be obtained. I adroit the
i oh looked anything but pleasant. " Well, here
goes !" I said, and putting on a cigarette, I trudged
off with my apparatus across the open, making a
bee-line midway between Montaubon and Bernafay
Wood. I gave both places a wide berth, thereby
steering clear of possible Bosche shells. How hot it
was. Perspiration was literally pouring from me. I
kept on over the ground captured from the Germans.
The snell in places was almost unbearable. I puffed
away at my cigarette, thereby reducing the stench
to a minimum.
Several shells came whizzing overhead in the
direction of the dressing station I had just left.
With a grînding crash they exploded. " Shrapnel,
woolly bears," I said under my breath. They
seemed to burst right on top of them too. I thought
of all those poor wounded Tommies lying helpless
on their stretchers. Another--then another---came
hurtling over. The splitting crash of the burst can
only be appreciated by those who have been in
close proximity fo a German H.E. Woolly Bear
exploding. It gives one rather a sickening sensa-
tion. Another came over. This rime iX burst
nearer. " Gee ! they're dropping the range." I
hastily grabbed my tripod and hurried off at a tan-
THE HORRORS OF TRONES WOOD 187
gent. Proceeding for a distance of about rive
hundred yards I turned off again and ruade tracks
for my original point.
In front, af a distance of about seven hundred
yards, one of our forward field batteries of 18-
pounders opened tire. Iat first thought they were
French 75 mm. owing to the extreme rapidity of
tire. From my position I could not see the guns, but
stretching across the country a rough line of brown
earth was thrown up, which I afterwards round out
was one of the old German lines. The guns were
cunningly concealed in the trench. Thinking that it
would make rather a good scene I decided to film
it in action.
I may add that I have previously been rather
wary about having much to do with forward artillery
positions. On three previous occasions I have been
badly "strafed" by brother Fritz. He has the un-
commonly irritating habit of putting his whizz-
bangs much too near fo be pleasant, with the
result that I have more than once been compelled
to take my camera and self off fo the more con-
genial quarters of a dug-out, from which place, you
will agree, one cannot obtain very interesting
Reaching the batteries I unlimbered myself ot
my gear and approaching the C.O. in charge told
him who I was and what I wanted. He was quite
pleased fo see me and said that he was just about
to give Fritz a good dose of " iron rations," firing
in salvos. Quickly fixing up my camera I filmed
the scenes from various points ot view. The men
were stripped to the waist, jumping out the shells
as fast as they could be handled. While I was
filming the scene brother Fritz replied with whizz-
bangs thick and fast. They are perfect devils,
and itis practically impossible to hear them coming
until they burst. I turned my machine round upon
HOW I FILMED THE WAR
the spot near which they were dropping. Several
times they got within the range of my camera, and
I continued to turn upon them until two came much
too close, so thinking discretion the better part of
valour, I hastily disappeared into the doubtful
shelter of a broken-down Hun trench. Then they
came over, several smothering me in dust as they
exploded close by. Having obtained all the pictures
I required I thanked the C.O. and went on my
My clothes were absolutely saturated with per-
spiration as I shambled away towards the top end
of Bernafay Wood. I looked back af the battery.
t3osche was still " strafing." I vowed I would never
go near any forward guns again ; but good resolu-
tions are ruade to be broken, and my lust for pictures
is too strong within me.
Moving was now diflïcult. The weight of my
camera outfit seemed fo be getting heavier. I could
only get along at a very slow pace. The strap
around my chest seemed to squeeze the very breath
out of my lungs. But worse was fo corne. The Huns
.began shelling the section with shrapnel in a search-
mg manner, and several rimes I collapsed into a
shell-hole, in the hope of obtaining a little cover.
But there is very little shelter from shrapnel. On
several occasions I felt like throwing away my
steel helmet; the weight seemed abnormal; but
prudence warned me and I clung to it.
The tire was now too bad to proceed in the open.
If there were any trenches or ditches I availed my-
self of their protection. The heat in the trenches
was terrific, and fo add to the horrors of the stench
and heat there were millions of flies. Filthy brutes !
They seemed to cling to one like leeches, and, my
arms being full, I could not keep them off my
face. Several rimes I almost decided to turn back,
asking myself if it was worth while. But when I
THE HORRORS OF TRONES WOOD 18 9
looked at Trones Wood in the distance, and the
heavy shells bursting all round, I gritted Iny teeth
and decided fo push on.
Thinking that Inore sinoke Inight help to keep
off the flies I lighted two cigarettes and puffed away
at thein, one in each corner of Iny Inouth. l'in sure
I Inust have looked a Inost extraordinary speciinen
of huinanity at this Inoinent. Loaded with kit,
perspiring like a bull; Iny steel helinet cocked on
one side of Iny head ; puffing away like a chiinney
at two cigarettes, and Inillions of flies buzzing all
around Ine. Picture Ine if you can.
I was proceeding like an autoinaton along the
trench when suddenly I caine upon an officer who, I
afterwards found out, was going up to fix his next
gun positions. He was sitting on a sandbag swearing
like Hades, and trying to disperse the clouds of
flies which were settling upon hiin. He looked up
as I approached, then suddenly burst into a peal
of laughter. I stood still and grinned, not daring
to open Iny Inouth to laugh for fear of losing Iny
cigarettes. Then I dropped Iny tripod and leaned
against the trench side to rest. His laughter suddenly
developed into a coughing and spluttering, spitting
and swearing, which in itself was strong enough to
drive all the flies in existence away.
" Bust the things!" he spluttered. "I got a
Inouthful of thein ! They Inight have iust coine off
soine dirty Bosche. Got a drink on you ? "
" Yes," I said, and handed hiin Iny water-bottle.
He rinsed out his Inouth.
"I do believe it's worth risking shrapnel rather
than tolerate these vile things!" he reinarked.
" But excuse Iny laughter; you did look funny
coining along there."
" Yes, I expect I did," I said, still puffing away af
Iny cigarettes. " I'd sinoke a dozen at once if I
could. Anything to keep the flies away."
19o HOW I FILMED THE WAR
" Well," he said, " I'm stumped. Have you one
to spare ? "
I handed him my case. He lighted up and both
of us, puffing as hard as we could, ruade quite a
healthy volume of smoke. From above it must bave
looked as if a small tire was raging.
We had sat there alternately puffing and chatting
and killing flics by the hundreds for about ten minutes.
I told him I wanted to get some scenes of Troncs.
He politely told me I ought fo bave b.roug.ht my
keeper out with me, but as he was golng In that
direction he would help me on the way to being
killed by carrying my tripod.
We started off. The shelling was getting un-
pleasantly near. Phoot-bang! We both ducked,
my head getting a nasty knock against the tripod
top. For the moment I thought I had been struck
.by the whizz-bang. Presently we reached a junction
in the trench, and as my friend's road lay in an
opposite direction we parted, and I trudged on
I was brought to a standstill by a mound of earth
which completely blocked the way. By all appear-
ances the shell that had caused it could bave only
come over a few minutes before, for a rhin wisp of
smoke was still curling up from the débris. " Well,"
I thought, placing my kit on the ground, " it's got
tobe donc ; so over I go." Here the air was com-
pletely free from flics. Evidently the gas from the
bursting shell had choked them off for a rime. Jove !
I was glad. It was like heaven ; and my tongue was
beginning fo burn rather badly through fiercely
smoking two cigarettes at once.
Cautiously I crept up to the top of the parapet !
What a sight! Shells were falling thick and fast
over Troncs and towards Baentin-le-Grand. I must
film this, Bosche or no Bosche ! So hastily fixing up
my tripod, I fastened on the camera and began
THE HORRORS OF TRONES V¢OOD 191
exposing. "Excellent," I thought ; '" l've got if."
Another shell came along. This rime it was evidently
a 59, and was right in the centre of my view, about
one hundred and fifty yards away! Another one.
Rotten ! Just out of my limits. Phut-bang ! Phut-
bang ! I grabbed my camera and fell with it on the
opposite side of the mound. I let it lie there, and
dashing back into the other section of trench grabbed
my bags and returned. Whizz-bangs followed;
whizz-bangs in Iront and behind ! I crouched as low
as possible and replacing the camera in its case hung
if over my back and, still bending low, hurricd away
dragging my tripod behind me.
The trench was blocked by a batch of men return-
ing. They were crouching down for cover. The
officer in charge asked me what in the world I was
" Thunder," he said, " if I knew the 'movie'
man had been here I would bave gone the other
way. You've evidently drawn tire by that con-
traption of yours. Where are you going ? "
" To Troncs Wood," I said.
The look of blank amazement on his face was
" My dear chap,'" he said, " are you serious ? "
" Well," I replied, "I had intended going there
till a moment ago, but the strafing seems to get
Shrapnel was now bursting overhead, a piece
hitting one of the men close by.
" Where's he hit ? " enquired the officer. The poor
fellow was lying down.
" In the shoulder, sir," one of the others shouted
back. " Seems rather bad."
" Two of you bring him through and get ahead to
the dressing station as quickly as possible. Keep
your heads down." Then turning to me he officer
said: " Look here, l've just corne from the Wood,
192 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
and, by gad, it's fair hell there ! The place is a charnel-
house. It's literally choked with corpses; heaps
of them; and we dare not bring them in. We've
tried even at night, but the shelling prevents us.
The place reeks. And the files! They're awful.
It's more than flesh and blood can stand! To put
your head up means certain death and--well, you
see what your camera did here. You can imagine
what it would be like over there, can't you ? "
" Yes, I see, but of course if I had known any
mcn were about I wouldn't have put my machine
up. I know there is always the possibility of drawing
tire. It has happened quite a number of rimes to
" If you respect your life don't go any further.
The shcll-fire is impossible, and the sight over there
is too ghastly for words."
So I decided to relinquish my visit for the rime
A call was ruade to proceed. " Half a minute," I
said, " the trench had been blown in about fifty
yards down, wouldn't it be better to clear it away
rather than take these men over the top ? "
The officer decided that it was. The men worked
.away with a will, and quickly replaced the earth
in the hollow of the trench wall from which it had
Again we trudged on. The flies were beginning
to annoy us once more. I put on a couple of cigar-
ettes. All the men had ransacked odds and ends
from their pockets, and the result was a line of men
smoking as hard as they could, and enveloped in a
haze of bluish white smoke. But the flics refused to
budge. Smoke had no effect on them, and I'm
inclined to think that no±hing short of a 59 would
do the trick. Not until we were out in the open
were we free from them.
On two further occasions I tried to enter Troncs
THE HORRORS OF TRONES WOOD 193
Wood, and both rimes the conditions were if any-
thing worse. The merest sign of a camera put up
over a parapet would have instantly brought a host
of shells clattering round; therefore, on the third
try, I decided to abandon the trip until a later date.
But those attempts will always remain in my memory
as a ghastly nightmare. The essence of death and
destruction, and all that it means, was horribly
I have been there since. I reached the place just
before the final cleansing, and brother Fritz, just to
let us know that he existed, and that he had a spire
against us, persisted in flinging his shrapnel around,
t.hereby keeping me well on the run. He did not
glve me the slightest chance to ge.t pictures, nor to
meditate on the surroundings; in fact the only
meditation I indulged in was to wonder whether
the next shrapnel bullet would strike my helmet
plumb on the top or glance off the nm. Then
thinking of George Grave's remark, I called Fritz a
" nasty person," with a few extra additions culled
from the " trench dictionary."
Being a fine night I decided to stay in the vicinity.
An officer of a pioneer battalion kindly offered me a
share of his dug-out--one of Fritz's cast-offs. I
gladly accepted, and over a cup--or rather a tin--
of tea, we exchanged views on various subjects.
About ten o'clock I went above to terra firma and
watched the shells bursting over the Gerrnan lines.
Myriads of star-shells or Verey lights shot high in
the sky, lighting up the whole country-side like day.
The sight was wonderful, and silhouetted against
the flashes I could sec countless bodies of men
tramping on their way like silent phantoms.
Here and there I watched a shell burst. I could
sec and hear that if had dropped into a section of
those men, adding fo the number of that great army
of heroes who had already "gone West." But into
HOW I FILMED THE WAR
fhose gaps, through which the blasting shells had
torn their way, stepped ofher rnen. A sharp word
of cornmand was rapped out, then on again fo take
up their battle position, leaving the dead behind to
be reverently buried on the morrow. The wounded
were broughf away by fhe sfrefcher-bearers, and as
one lot passed me I heard a voice frorn fhe darkness
murrnur, " Bill, it's a blighty."
I wandered on in the direction of our line. Near a
junction of by-roads I heard sorne funny rernarks
passed by ration parties frying to find fhe way fo
their sections. To pick one's way in fhe dark over
strange ground littered with débris is hot an easy
task. The exact language I heard would hardly
One party had evidenfly burnped into another.
" D and who are you ? Cawn'f yer see,
mare, l'In taking up cornpany rations ? ]31irny,
but 'ow the 'ell I arn going to find fhe way--blowed
if I know. Do you know where- Cornpany is ?
l'rn taking up sandbags. Lost me way. 'Ave
yer passed a dead 'orse ? I knowed I passed it
corning up. Good night, rnafe."
]3oth rnen went off into the darkness, swearing
like troopers. Another man carne up. He was
whistling a hornely song, but if carne to an abrupt
conclusion, for he evidently sturnbled over sorne
obstacle. Compliments began to fly, and he told
the Bosche in plain language what he thoughf of
hirn for leaving it there. His rernarks were too
pointed for expression in cold print.
The next to corne along was an engineering officer.
He could faintly discern me in the darkness.
" Hullo," he said. " Are you fhe "
" No," I replied. " l'rn sorry I can't help you,
I haven't the least idea where they are. "Vhat's
wrong ? "
"I have to run otl.t sorne wires to-night, but
THE HORRORS OF TRONES WOOD 195
bothered if I know where they are. Missed my
way near the wood. Some silly ass sent me wrong."
" Well," I said, " most of the troops I have seen
have gone in that direction," pointing the way. He
Apparently he was held up a minute or two later
by some one else, for in the distance I heard a voice,
" Do you know where -- Company is, sir ? "
" No, I don't," in a rather irritated forte. "I
can't find my own blooming way."
This sort of thing went on for over an hour; first
one then another. Whether all of them eventually
found their various points Heaven only knows !
I had wandered so far, owing to my interest in
other people, that I had some difficulty in retracing
my steps fo the dug-out. Eventually I arrive there
about one o'clock. I had been given up for lost.
I told of my experiences.
" That kind of thing happens practically every
night. They manage to find their way somehow.
Corne along ; let's turn in. Look out for your head
as you crawl through. Don't mind the rats. Cover
your head well up. They won't touch your face
I crawled in on to my bed. Then I noticed a
peculiar and decidedly unpleasant smell.
" Have you got any corpses here ? " I asked him.
" Yes, I believe so," he said. " You see the other
entrance has been blown in. It's the other end of
your bed, and I believe some Bosches were buried
in the débris. Never mind, stick it; they won't
" Pleasant dreams," I mumbled as I drew my
blanket well around my face ; in a few minutes the
presence of dead Bosche ceased fo trouble me. I
FILMING AT PozIÈRES AND CONTALblAISON
Looking for " Thrills "--And How I Got Them--I Pass Through
" Sausage Vailey," on the Way to Pozières--You May and you
Might--What a Tommy Found in a German Dug-out--How
Fritz Got " Sorne of His Own " Back-Taking Pictures in What
,Vas Once Pozières--" Proofs Ready To-morrow."
HINGS, from my point of view, were slack-
ening down. Plenty of preparatory action
was taking place, and here and there small
local engagements, but the fact that they were
local made it very difficult for me fo get fo hear
of them. None of the Corps Commanders knew
exactly when or where the nibble would develop,
or, if they did know, they were naturally chary of
giving me the information. On occasions too when
I did knov I had not sufficient rime to make my
arrangements, I had to be content with scenes
which unfolded themselves after the action had
This was getting rather monotonous. The after-
math of one attack vas to ail intents and purposes
an exact replica of the previous one, except that the
surroundings were different. There was the return
of the attackers ; the bringing in of prisoners, the
wounded, the dead; and to vary these scenes to
make my pictures generally interesting required a
lot of thought and a careful choice of »iew point.
In the course of the " push," which began in July,
there were hundreds, I might almost say thousands,
of incidents that to the eye were of enthrailing
interest, but to have filmed them with the idea of
POZIERES AND CONTALMAISON 197
conveying that interest on the screen would bave
been so much wasted effort. Even the kinemato-
graph bas frs limitations.
Over my head ail the rime, like a huge sword,
hung the thought of British public opinion, and the
opinion of neutral countries. They would accept
nothing unless there was great excitement in it;
unless the pictures contained such "thrills" as they
had never seen before, and had never dreamed pos-
sible. Once I had secured that thrill I could then--
and only then--take the preparatory scenes, de-
picting the ordinary life and action of the men and
the organisation which are necessary to run the
war. Such scenes--interesting as they undoubtedly
are--without that " thrill " would have fallen fiat,
would bave been of no use, from the exhibition point
of view, and I had always to bear that fact in mind.
I bave spent many sleepless nights wondering
how and where I was to obtain that magnetic thrill,
that minute incident, probably only ten per cent of
which would carry the remaining ninety per cent
to success. One that would positively satisfy the
I had been filming a lot of stuff lately, but when I
looked through my list, excellent as the scenes were
--many of which I would probably never be able to
get again--they struck me as lacking " thrill."
That was what I required. So I set out to get it.
The Australians had just captured Pozières, and
hearing that the Bosche were continually "strafing"
it I decided to make for that quarter with the object
of getting a good bombardment. If possible, I
would also get into the village itself where there
ought to be some very good pictures, for the capture
had only taken place two days previously.
Pozières then it should be. Leaving my base early
in the morning I made my way through Becourt
Wood and beyond, up " Sausage Valley "--why that
198 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
naine I don't know. The whole area was crowded
wffh men of Che Australian division.
As there was no road I Cook my car over the
grass, or rather all that was left of if. The place
was covered with shell-holes. Driving between,
and more offen than not into them, was tacher a
tiresome job, but it saved several toiles of Cramping
with heavy stuff. " Sausage Valley "' during Chis
period was anything but healthy. I was warned
about it as I leff an Australian battery where I had
stayed fo inake a few enquiries. A major told me
Che place was "strafed" every day, and I soon round
that this was so when I arrived. Several " crumps "
fell in the wood behind me, and two on the hill-
side among some horses, killing several. If I saw
one dead horse I must have seen dozens ; they were
all over the place. But every one was much too
busy fo bury them af the moment. The sCench was
decidedly unpleasant, and the flies buzzed around
in swarms. I soon had a couple of cigarettes alight.
WhaC a boon they were af Cimes.
After much dodging and twisting I halCed the car
close to a forward dressing station. While I was there
several shells dropped unpleasantly near, and I
could not restrain my admiration for the medical
staff who tended he wounded, quite oblivious of
the dangers by which Chey were surrounded in so
exposed a position. I obtained several very inter-
esting scenes of the wounded arriving.
I waited awhile to watch the Bosche shelling
before going over the ridge to Pozières. I could
then tell the sections he "strafed "most. I would be
able Co avoid them as much as possible. I watched
for Iully an hour; the variation in his Car.get was
barely perceptible. On one or two occasions he
" swept" the ridge. I decided to make a start
after the next dose.
Strapping the camera on my back, my man
POZIERES AND CONTALMAISON 99
taking the tripod, we started off. There was a
light railway running towards Contalmaison. I
tollowed this until I got near the spot brother Fritz
was aiming at, hugging a trench at the side of a by-
road. The bank was lined with funk-holcs, which came
in very useful during the journey, and I had to seek
their shelter several rimes, but the nearest shell
tell at a junction between that road and a com-
munication trench. Just this side lay a very much
dead horse. The shell came over. Down I went
fiat on my stomach. My man dived into a hole.
The shell exploded, and the next thing I remember
was a feeling as if a ton ot bricks had fallen on top
of me. I managed fo struggle up and make quickly
for the trench, my man Iollowing ; and you may
be quite sure I took care that I was well out of line
of tlae next before I eased up. Beyond a few scratches
on the camera-case and a torn coat, I was quite
I was told of a Hun battery of 77 mm. guns on
the left-hand side of the valley leading fo Pozières,
so I decided to make for that spot. I enquired of a
man as to the whereabouts of them.
" Well, sir," he said, " you may corne to them if
you keep straight on, but I shouldn't advise you to
do so as you have to cross the open. Bosche has a
pretty sharp eye on anyone there ; he knows the
lay ot the battery and he just plasters it. You
rnight get round at 'Dead Man's Corner,' on the
Contalmaison Road. Ifs pretty bad there, but I
think it's the best place fo try, and once you are
round the corner you may be all right."
" Well, which way do I take ? "
" Down this way, then turn fo your left at the
corner; the battery is about two hundred yards
along on the bill-side."
" But, man alive," I said, " they're strafing it
like blazes. Look ! "
200 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
They were, too, and 8-inch shells were dropping
" No, I think I will take the risk and run over the
open. Are there any dug-outs af the battery ? "
" Yes, sir, j olly good ones; forty feet deep;
regular beauties. Evidently ruade up their minds
fo stay the winter. Electric light, libraries, and
beds with real spring mattresses. My, sir, but they
were comfortable. And what do you think I round
there, sir ? "
" Heaven knows," I replied.
" Well, sir, several ladies' fringe nets and hair-
" The devil you did. Well, Fritz knows how fo
make himsclf cosy."
With that remark we parted, Tommy having a
broad grin on his face.
" You will see the place where you get out of this
ditch, sir," he called out; "a shell has blown if in;
strike off on your left straight ahead. You'll see
them in front of you."
The shelling was getting very unpleasant, and I
had to keep low in the trench the whole of the rime.
Af length we reached the point where ve had fo
get over the top.
" Well, corne on, let's chance if," I said to my
man. I saw the battery in the distance before
Up we went and bending low raced for the spot.
On the way I passed several dead bodies, all Bosche,
and numbers of pieces blown fo bits by out shell
tire. A whizz-bang came over whilst we were cross-
ing. Down we went into a shell-hole. Another, and
another came over. Murderous little brutes they
were too. Seven of them. Then they ceased. We
immediately jumped up again and reached out
objective. Then getting under cover of some
twisted .ironwork, which once formed the footing
POZIERES AND CONTALMAISON 2Ol
of the emplacement, I took breath. "Anyway,"I
thought, "here I ara."
In a few minutes I had a look round. What an
excellent view of Pozières, about eight hundred
yards away on my left. On the right was Contal-
maison, which had only been taken a short rime
previously. The Bosches were shelling the place
pretty frequently. I set up the camera and waited.
Away on the opposite hill shells were falling thickly.
I started filming them and got some interesting
bursts, both high explosive and H.E. shrapnel.
Now for Pozières. The enemy must have been
putting 9-inch and I2-inch stuff in there, for they
were sending up huge clouds of smoke and débris.
I secured some excellent scenes. First Pozières,
then Contalmaison. My camera was first on one
then on the other. For a change Bosche whizz-banged
the battery. I could see now why he was so anxious
fo crump if, for lying all around me in their carriers,
were hundreds of gas shells. I was in fact standing
on them. They were all unused, and if Fritz got a
good one home, well good-bye to everything.
One rime I thought I would seek the shelter of a
dug-out, but the tire swept away in the opposite
direction. By careful manoeuvring I managed to
film the German guns there. Every one of the four
was quite smashed up. An excellent example of
artillery tire, and by the date upon them they were
of the latest pattern.
In all there were three batteries in that small
area, making twelve guns. But out of the twelve
sufficient parts were found intact fo make one good
one, so that Fritz would get " some of his own '"
back in a way that he least expected; for there
were thousands of rounds of ammunition found in
the dug-outs beneath the gun pifs.
How to get into Pozières was the next problem.
I had, while filming, been making mental notes as
202 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
to the section which Fritz did not "strafe," and that
place, by all that's wonderful, was the actual thing
he was undoubtedly trying for--the road.
By hugging the bank-side, along which here and
there I could spot a few funk-holes, I managed fo
get into the chalk-pit. Here I filmed various scenes,
but Bosche, as usual, kept me on the jump with his
shrapnel, forcing me to take hurried shelter from
rime fo rime.
There is one thing I shall always thank Fritz for,
and that is his dug-outs. If he only knew how
useful they had been fo me on many occasions I am
sure he would feel flattered.
From the chalk-pit fo Pozières was no great dis-
tance. The ground was littered with every description
of equipment, just as if had been left by the flying
Huns, and dead bodies were everywhere. The place
looked a veritable shambles. Believe me, I went
along that road very gingerly, picking my way
between the shell bursts. Just before I reached the
place the firing suddenly ceased. The deadly silence
was uncanny in the extreme ; in fact I seemed fo
fear if more than the bombardment. If seemed to
me too quiet fo be healthy. What was Bosche up
to ? There must be some reason for if. I took
cover in a shallow trench af the roadside. Along the
bottom were lying several dead Bosches, and a short
distance away fragments of human remains were
The place was desolate in the extreme. The village
was absolutely non-existent. There was not a
vestige of buildings remaining, with one exception,
and that was a place called by the Germans " Gib-
raltar," a reinforced concrete emplacement he had
used for machine-guns. The few trees that had
survived the terrible blasting were just stumps, no
Fritz's sudden silence seemed uncanny, but taking
POZIERES AND CONTALMAISON 203
advantage of his spell of inactivity I hastily rigged
up the camera and began exposing. In a few
minutes I had taken sufficient, and packing up I
hurried down the road as fast as I could.
I reached the chalk-pit safely and then, cutting
across direct fo the gun pits, I took up my original
position and awaited Fritz's good pleasure fo send
a few more crump to provide me with scenes. But
not a shell came over.
Before leaving this section I thought I would
film Contalmaison, a name immortalised by such
fighting as has rarely been equalled even in this
great war. To get there it was necessary fo go to
" Dead Man's Corner." The road was pitted with
shell-holes, and dead horses lay about on both sides.
Boche was still uncannily quiet. I was beginning
fo think I should just manage fo get my scenes
before he interfered with me. But no! Either he
had finished his lunch or had some more ammuni-
tion, for he started again. One came over and burst
in the village in Iront of me, with a noise like the
crashing of ten thousand bottles. I took shelter
behind a smashed-up limber, and xvaited fo see
where the next would fall. It burst a little further
away. Good enough, I thought. Here goes before
he alters his range.
Jumping up I ran and scrambled on to the ruins
of a house, and took some fine panoramic views of
the village, first from one position then from another.
Some of the scenes included a few of our men in
possession. Altogether a most interesting series,
including as it did both Pozières and Contalmaison.
It was the first time they had been filmed since their
At that moment I heard another crump coming
over. If seemed to be unpleasantly near, so I made
a running dive for a dug-out entrance, from which
poked the grinning face of an officer.
204 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
" Look out," I yelled.
Crash came the crump.
" Near enough anyhow," I said, as a piece flew
shrieking past close overhead.
" Are you the 'movie' man ? I'm pleased fo
meet you," he said. " Did you get me in that last
scene ? "
" Yes," I said. " Proofs ready to-morrow." And
with a laugh I hurried down the road.
ALONG THE WESTERN FRONT WITH THE KING
His Majesty's Arrival af ]3oulogne--At G.H.Q.--General 's
Appreciation--The King on the ]3attlefield of Fricourt--W'ithin
Range of the Enemy's Guns--His Majesty's Joke Outside a
German Dug-out--His Memento from a Flcro's Grave--His
Visit to a Casualty Clearing Station--The King and the Puppy--
Once in DisgraceNow a Hospital Mascot.
HAT evening I reported at headquarters.
" Well, Malins," said Colonel , " I
have a special job for you. Will you be on
the quay at Boulogne to-morrow morning by twelve
o'clock ? Captain is going down ; he will make
ail arrangements for you there ; he will also tell you
who it is that's coming. Start at eight o'clock to-
morrow morning. It is very important; so don't
fail to be there."
Leaving the Colonel I met Captain outside.
" Who's coming ? " I asked.
" Don't know," he said. " Tell you to-morrow."
" Is it the King ? " I asked.
" Well," he said, " as a marrer of fact it is. He
arrives to-morrow. I shall have the full programme
in the morning, and will give you a copy."
What a film! My first thought was whether he
would visit the battlefield. What scenes I conjured
up in my imagination. To see Britain's King on
the battlefield with his troops ; to see him inspecting
the ground; to see him in trenches lately captured
from the Germans. My imagination began to run
away with me. No, I thought, it will be just the
ordinary reviews and reception.
2o6 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
But I was wrong. The scenes that I had pictured
to myself I was soon to witness.
On the morrow the Captain, the still picture man
and myself, left G.H.Q. for Boulogne. Arriving at
the quay I looked around for any signs of prepara-
tion, but the whole place was as usual. The Captain
called at the A.M.L.O.
" Do you know what ime the King is due ? " he
The A.M.L.O. in tones of amazement ejaculated
a long-drawn-out " What ; never heard of his
" Well, he is," said the officer. " He's arriving at
" I was ncver informed," said the other. " I will
ring up the M.L.O." He did so, and after a short
rime the information came through. " The King
will hot arrive to-day; he will be here to-morrow
at 9 a.m. His sailing was altered at the last moment."
That night I turned in at the Hôtel Folkestone,
making arrangements for my car to take me and my
apparatus to the quay at 8.3o in the morning.
The morning fortunateiy was beautifuliy bright.
I sincerely hoped it would continue. What excellent
quality it promised in the films. I compared it with
the weather during the last visit to France of the
late Lord Kitchener ; unfortunately it rained all the
I arrived at the quay. The French officials were
gathered there, and lined up was a guard of honour,
formed by the Norh Staffordshire Regiment. Every
man had been through many engagements during
I fixed up the camera. The boat had already
drawn up by the quay-side. There was a hushed
whisper from several officials standing by: " There
he is." I looked and saw the King gaily chatting
to the Naval Officer in charge.
WITH THE KING 207
I wondered whether His Majesty would like being
photographed, therefore I carefully kept my camera
under cover of a shelter close by. At that moment
the King's equerry came ashore. I asked him what
rime His Majesty was due to land.
" Another hall an hour yet," he said, " the
Governor of Boulogne and other French officials are
just going aboard to be introduced."
I arranged some wheeled railings in such a manner
that the opening was close by my camera, thereby
making sure that the King would pass very near me.
The moment arrived. My camera was in position.
Af that moment the King came down Che gangway
--he was in Field-Marshal's uniform--followed by
his suite, including Lord Stamfordham, Sir Derek
Keppel, Lieutenant-Colonel Clive Wigram, and Mai or
Thompson. I started turning as he stepped on Che
shores of France. He gravely saluted.
P.assing close by he reviewed the guard of honour,
glvlng them a word of praise as he went. I filmed
him the whole of the rime, until he reached his car,
bade adieux fo the many officers present, and drove
away fo G.H.Q.
I had made an excellent start. The landing was
splendid. Now fo follow. The King was going to
G.H.Q., breaking his journey fo lunch with Sir
Douglas Haig on the way. I knew I should bave
ample rime therefore fo get well ahead and film the
arrival af General Headquarters.
Arriving af G.H.Q. I took up my stand near the
entrance to the building. The Prince of Wales and
other officers were there. I noticed that the Prince,
as soon as he saw me, turned and said something to a
friend near by. He evidently remembered my two
previous attempts to film him.
His Majesty arrived. The Prince of Wales came
to the salute, then His Majesty--not as a king, but
as a Iather--embraced his son. I should have
208 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
obiained a better view of that incident, but un-
luckily an officer side-stepped and partly covered
the figures from my camera.
I obtained many scenes during the day of His
Maj esty visiting, in company with General Sir Douglas
Haig, various headquarter offices, where he studied
in detail the general position of the armies. I noticed
that Sir Douglas did hot look upon my camera very
kindly. He was rather shy of the machine, though
latterly he bas looked with a more sympathetic eye
On the second day of thc King's visit I started out
and proceeded to an appointed place on the main
road, where the King's car would join us.
The weather was very dull. It was causing me
much conccrn, for to-day of all days I wanted to
obtain an excellent film.
The cars pulled up. We had about fifteen minutes
to watt. I fixed up my camera ready to film the
meeting with General Sir Henry Rawlinson. While
waiting, the General came over to me and began
chating about my work.
"I hear," he said, " that you filmed the attack
of the 29th Division af Beaumont Hamcl on the
Ist July, and bave been told of the excellence of ihe
He seemed much impressed by what I told him of
the possibilities of the camera.
A patrol signalled the King's arrival. His car
drew up ; His Ma]esty alighted and heartily greeted
the General. I filmed the scenes as they presented
All aboard once morethe King leading--we
started on our journey for the battlefield of Fricourt.
Having hung about until the last second turning
the handle, if was a rush for me to pack, and pick
them up again. My car hOt being one of the best,
I had great difficulty in keeping up with the party.
WITH THE KING 209
The news of the King's arrival and j ourney fo
Fricourt seemed fo have spread well ahead, for
everywhere numbers of troops were strewn along
the roadside, and even far behind as I was, I could
hear the echoing cheers which resounded over hills
and valleys for toiles around.
Finally the cars came to a halt at an appointed
place near the ruins of the village and once beautiful
woods of Fricourt, well within range of the enemies'
The spot where the King alighted was known
as the Citadel, a German sandbag fortification of
It was arranged in the form of a circle, with
underground tunnels and dug-outs of great depth.
In various secions of the walls were machine-gun
emplacements, and the whole being on the top of
the bill, formed a most formidable obstacle to the
advance of out troops. I may add that the bill is
now known as " King George's Hill."
The King and his party had already alighted when
I arrived to set up my camera, and hurrying forward
was very difficult work, especially as I had to
negotiate twisted masses of enemy barbed wire
entanglements. But eventually, after much rushing,
and being very nearly breathless, I got ahead, and
planted my machine on the parapet of an old
German trench and filmed the party as they passed.
To keep ahead after filming each incident was very
hard work. It meant waiting here and there,
jumping trenches, scrambling through entangle-
ments, stumbling into shell-holes, and at times fairly
hanging by my eyebrows to the edge of trenches,
balancing my camera in a way that one would have
deemed almost impossible. But I ara gratified to
think that I managed to keep up with the King, and
I succeeded in recording every incident of interest.
At a point on the bill-top the King halted, and
21o H0W I FILMED THE WAR
General described the various movements and
details of the attack and capture of the village, the
King taking a very keen interest in the whole
I continued turning the handle. I did not aIlow
a single scene to pass. Such a thing had never been
known before. Throughout if ail the guns, large and
small, were crashing out, and the King could sec
the shells bursting over the German lines quite
The guide, who was a lieutenant in the Engineers,
suddenly called attention fo an old German trench.
The Prince of Wales first entered and examined from
above the depths of an old dug-out.
With a jump I landed on the other side of the
trench and stickin.g the tripod legs in the mud I
filmed the scene In which His Majesty and the
Prince of Wales inspected the captured German
The party halted at the entrance fo another dug-
out. The guide entered and for some moments did
not reappear, the K. ing and the General meanwhile
standing and gazng down. Suddenly a voice
echoed from the depths :
" Will you corne down, sir ? "--this remark fo
His Majesty laughed, but did not avail himself of
All the party joined in the laughter, and all those
who bave seen that picture on the screen of His
Majesty's visit fo his troops, will recall the incident
fo which I refer. Many of the London papers in their
articles, referring fo the film, wondered what the
joke was that the King so thoroughly enjoyed
outside a German dug-out.
The party passed on, but some difficulty was
exp.erienced when they tried to get out of the trench
agaln. The King was pulled out by the Prince of
WITH THE KING 211
Wales, and another officer, but some members of the
party experienced a difficulty which provided quite
an amusing episode.
Af rimes I had fo stop and change spools. Then
the par±y got well ahead, and on several occasions
His Maj esty, with his usual thoughtfulness and
courtesy, hung back and debated on various things
in the trenches, in order fo allow me rime to catch
them up again.
His Majesty passed over old mine craters, and
stood with his deer-stalking glasses, resting against
a tree which had been withered during the fighting,
watching the bombardment of Pozières. He ruade
sympathetic enquiries by the side of a lonely grave
surmounted by a rough wooden cross, on which the
naine and number of this hero were roughly inscribed.
A shrapnel helmet, with a hole clean through the top,
evidently caused by a piece of high-explosive shell,
rested upon the mound.
The King stooped and picked up a piece of shell
and put if in his pocket.
If was now rime for His Majesty's departure.
Gathered near his car was a crowd of Tommies,
ready fo give their King a rousing cheer as he drove
away. I filmed the scene, and as the car vanished
over the brow of the hill, three more were called for
the Prince of Wales.
Hurriedly picking up my kit I chased away airer
them. On the way masses of Anzacs lined both sides
of the road, and the cheers which greeted His
Maj esty must have been heard miles away. The
scene made a most impressive picture for me. Af
that moment a battalion of Anzacs just out of the
trenches af Pozières were passing. The sight was
very wonderful, and the King saw with his own eyes
some of his brave Colonials returning from their
triumph, covered with clay, looking dog-tired but
212 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
His Majesty was now going fo view some ruins
near the front, but unfortunately, owing to burst
tyres, I could not keep up with the party, and by the
time I got on the move again it vould bave been
impossible for me to reach the place in time to film
this scene. Therefore, knowing that he was due at
No. 18 C.C.S. or " Casualty Clearing Station," I
made hurried tracks for it. A most interesting
picture promised fo result.
I arrived at the C.C.S. and was met by the C.O.
"Hullo, Malins," he said, "still about ? Always
on the go, eh ? The last scenes you took here came
out well. I saw them in London on the R.A.M.C.
film. What do you want now ? "
" Well, sir," I said, " I am chasing the King, and
scme chase too, my word. I lost him this morning
when my old bus broke down. But up to the present
I bave obtained a most excellent record. Topping
day yesterday on the battlefield of Fricourt. I
wouldn't bave missed it for anything."
Half an hour later the royal car drew up. The
King and the Prince of Wales alighted, and were
conducted around the hospital by the C.O.
I did not miss a single opportunity of filming, from
His Mai esty's talk to some wounded officers, to his
strolling through the long lines of hospital tents and
entering them each in turn. Ai one point my
camera was so close to the path along which the
King passed, that the Prince of Wales, evidently
determined not fo run into my range again, quickly
slipped away and crossed higher up between the
other tents. An officer standing by me remarked
with a laugh, " The Prince doesn't seem fo like you."
A touching incident took place when the King was
on the point of leaving. He stooped down and
tenderly picked up a small puppy, and gently
caressed and kissed it, then handed it back to the
WITH THE KING 213
Colonel. This scene appears in the film, and
illustrates His Maj esty's affection for dumb animals.
I had just finished turning, when an officer came
up to me and said in a low tone : " That's funny."
" What's funny ? " I asked.
" Why that incident. Do you know that dog only
came in here yesterday, and he bas done so much
mischief through playing about, that at last the C.O.
determined to get rid of him. But we won't now.
I shall put a red, white, and blue ribbon round his
neck and call him George. He shall be the hospital's
Beiore I had rime to reply His Mai esty prepared
fo leave, so running with my camera I planted if in
the middle of the road and filmed his departure, amid
the cheers of the officers and men of the hospital.
KING AND PRESIDENT MEET
An Historic Gathering--In which King and President, Joffre and
Haig Takc Part--His Maiesty and the Little French Grl--I Ara
Permitted to Film the King and His Distinguished Guests--A
Visit to the King of the Belgians--A Cross-Channel Journey--
I HEARD that night that the King was going
to meet M. Poincaré, the French President, at
the bouse of Sir Douglas Haig, and very
possibly General Joffre might be there, as well.
In the mornin gE there was an excellent liEht, the
sun was blazing ; and at 9 a.m. sharp we started off,
the royal car leading. By cutting across country
I was able to save a considerable distance as I wished
to get there first, in order to film the arrival.
The château was a ±ypical French one, no± very
large, but situated in a charming spot, seemingly
toiles away from such a thing as war. Everything
was as peaceful indeed as if we were at home in the
midst of the beautiful Surrey Hills.
Yet in this scene of profound peace ±he rulers of
England and France, with the leading Generals, were
meeting ±o discuss the future policy of the greatest
and most bloody war of all rime.
I took my stand on a grass patch in a position that
commanded views of bo±h the main gares and the
entrance to the house. Lining the drive from the
main gares were men of Sir Douglas Haig's regiment,
the Tth Lancers, standing ±o atten±ion, their lance
points glistening in the sun.
KING AND PRESIDENT MEET 215
The sentries at the gates came smartly fo the
salute as the royal car, in which were the King and
Sir Douglas Haig, drew up. I started turning as he
entered the gates. At that moment a little French
girl ran out with a bunch of flowers and presented
them to the King, who, smiling, stopped and patted
her cheek, passed a remark to Sir Douglas, and then
proceeded down the lines of troops, and entered the
house, the Prince of Wales following close behind.
Shortly afterwards a signal was given. His
Maj esty and Sir Douglas came down the steps and
reached the gares as the car, bringing M. Poincaré,
the French President, and General Joffre, drew up.
What a scene it would make.
M. Poincaré came first, and was warmly greeted
by the King. He was immediately followed by
General Joffre, and an incident then occurred which
took " Papa " Joffre unawares. For the moment he
was perplexed. The saine little French maid ran out
with another bunch of flowers and offered them to
" No, no," he said, "not for me, give them fo the
But the child thought otherwise. She intended
that Papa Joffre, the idol of France, should have
them. He must bave them. But no ; the General,
taking the child gently by the arm, led ber to where
M. Poincaré was speaking to the King and Sir
Douglas Haig, and drew their attention to the child.
They all smiled, and were greatly amused by the
incident. Then the little one gave her flowers to the
President, who taking them, stooped and kissed her
forehead, and the little one satisfied with her success
The President, not knowing what to do with the
flowers, looked around Ior an officer to take them to
his car, but General Joffre, anticipating the desire,
called up his A.D.C who took them away. The party
216 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
then moved into the house. General Foch also
entered with the Prince of VTales.
After the lunch and conference, word was sent in
fo Colonel Wigram who endeavoured fo persuade
the King and M. Poincaré fo pose for a short scene on
the balcony. Word came back that they would
To fix my camera up on the balcony was the work
of only a few seconds.
The King came out through the French window,
followed by M. Poincaré. They were both smiling
and seemed fo be very interested in the coming
" Where do we go ? " said the King.
"Would your Majesty stand over there ? " I said,
pointing to one end of the retrace. They stood there
side by side, King and President laughing and
chatting. \Vhile I turned on them, General Joffre
" Corne along, Joffre, you stand here," said His
Maj esty, " and you there," he said laughingly to
General Foch. Sir Douglas Haig then came out and
stood at the end of the line.
For fully a minute they stood there, making a
scene, the like of which I had never dreamed.
King, and President, and Generals, who held in
their hands the destiny of the world. I continued
turning, until His Majesty, thinking I had enough,
withdrew, laughing and chatting by the camera,
followed by General Joffre, Sir Douglas Haig, and
By this rime my spool had run out, so quicMy
changing I got round fo the front of he house fo
film the royal pary leaving.
Affer hey had al1 gone, I heard that Mr. Lloyd
George was on his way up from Paris. How lae he
was, one Offlcer was saylng: " VTe expected him
before this." Hearing that I decided o wait. About
KING AND PRESIDENT MEET 217
half an hour later, up he came in a great hurry, and
I just managed to film him as he left his car and
entered the building.
To-day was Sunday. His Majesty attended
Divine Service with some of the troops stationed
near by, in a small country church perched high up
on the hill-side. Quiet and contentment pervaded
everything ; not even the sound of a gun was heard.
A visit to His Majesty, King Albert of Belgium,
was the next item on the programme.
The King and Prince of Wales and their suite
entered their respective cars and, amidst the cheers
of the civilian populace, we left the village on the
bill. The red and gold of the little Royal Standard
on the King's car glittered bright in the morning sun.
Away we went. How my old "bus" did go;
every ounce was being obtained from it ; she fairly
rocked and roared on the tails of the high-power
machines ahead. I knew the road only too well;
many a rime in the early part of the war had I
traversed it, and passed through these self-same
On we tore fo where, in an unostentatious little
villa, lived the King and Queen of the Belgians.
By the rime I arrived King George had alighted,
and the Belgian Guard of Honour was playing the
national hymn. I hurried through the villa gares,
ignoring the guards stationed there who tried to
hinder me. I wanted to film the meeting. But I
was too late, for by the time I had my machine on the
stand the two Kings had passed along the line of
troops, crossed the sand-dunes and entered the villa.
I had unfortunately missed the meeting by a few
minutes, but I vowed I wouldn't move far away from
them during the afternoon. I heard that after lunch
King G.eorge, assisted by Prince Alexander of Teck,
was golng fo award decorations and medals to
Belgian officers, and during the afternoon I obtainea
28 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
many good scenes. The Queen was there, and with
her the two Princes and little Princess Josephine.
They were all most interested in the proceedings.
I filmed the King visiting a 6-inch Howitzer
Battery. I noticed specially how keen he was in
enquiring about every litfie detail. Nota single
thing seemed fo miss his eye, from the close examina-
tion of the gun's breech, fo inspecting the dug-outs
of the men. He then left, and knowing he was going
fo inspect the Canadians I hurried off in order fo get
When I arrived the Canadian Generals and staff
were thcre waiting. Here I met many old friends
of the St. Eloi battle and, curiously enough, if was
af this very spot hat I filmed le scene of the
Northumberland Fusiliers, or Fighting Fifth, re-
turning from battle, fagged out, but happy.
General Burstall was there, and as soon as he saw
me he came up and said :
" Hullo, Malins, you here ? Why I thought you
would have been killed long ago."
" No, sir," I said, " I don't think I am much of a
corpse, though really Brother Fritz has tried very
hard fo send me West."
" You must have a charmed liIe," he said. " Have
you corne fo film our show ? "
" Yes," I replied. "The King will be along
shortly. Ah ! here he cornes now."
And down the road, stretching away in the
distance, a line of cars came tearing along in our
direction. Everybody came fo attention. I got
ready my camera. The King drew up, and from
that moment, until he passed through the camp,
lined with thousands of cheering Canadians, I filmed
his every movement.
The rive days' continuous rush and tear was
beginning fo tell on me. I was feeling Iagged out.
But to-morrow His Majesty was sailing again for
HER .MAJES'F$.' TIIE QOEEN OF TttE BELGIANS, TAKINt A SNAP OF
AT V'ORK "VIIII.E FILMING TIIE KING
THE PRINCE OF 'VAI.ES SPEAI,;.IN,; WIFH BEI.GI.A.N ,»I-I-'IçERS AT I.A PA_X,'XE
BEIA;I I." bl
KING AND PRESIDENT MEET 219
England. That night, through a member of the
Headquarter Staff, I enquired of Colonel Wigram
if if was at all possible for me to accompany the
King on his boat across the Channel. It would make
a most excellent finish to my film, I pleaded, and it
would show the people at home and neutrals that
the British Navy still held the seas secure, and that
our King could go on the seas where and when he
liked, and to film His Maj esty on board, among his
naval officers, what a splendid record to hand down
Colonel Wigram immediately saw the possi-
bilities of such a finish, and agreed to allow me to
Very jubilant, I thanked him and promised tobe
at the boat by inidday.
In my hurry and anxiety fo obtain permission I
had entirely forgotten fo enquire at which port the
boat was sailing from--Calais or Boulogne. I rushed
back fo find Colonel Wigram, but unluckily he had
gone. I enquired of the Intelligence officers present,
but they did not know.
I therefore decided that the only thing fo do was
fo start off early in the morning and go fo Boulogne,
and then on fo Calais, if the boat was leaving from
Early next morning, with my kit, I rushed away
fo Boulogne, but on my arrival I round out that the
King was not leaving from there, but from Calais.
Off to Calais I went. How the rime was going. Ill
luck seemed to dog me on the journey, for with a
loud noise the back tyre burst. To take if off and
replace if with a new one was done in record rime.
Then on again. How the old " bus " seemed to
" How many toiles is she doing ? " I asked the
" Nearly fifty fo the hour, sir, can't get another
22o HOW I FILMED THE WAR
ounce out of ber. I shouldn't be surprised if the
engine fell out."
" Never mind, let ber bave it," I yelled.
Down the hills she rocked and swayed like a
drunken thing. If there had happened to be any-
thing in the way--well, I don't know what would
have happened ; but there would have been " some"
mess ! Anyway, nothing did happen, and I arrived
at the dock in due course. No, the boat had not
gone, but by the appearance of every one there, it
was just on the point of moving off. To get on to the
quay I had to pass over a swing bridge; a barrier
was across it, and soldiers on duty were posted in
order to send all cars round, some distance down,
over the next bridge. Knowing that if I went there
I should be too late, I yelled out to the man fo allow
me to pass.
"No, sir," he said. "You must go the other way."
Well, what I said I don't know, but I certainly
swore, and this evidently impressed the fellow so
much that he removed the barrier and allowed me
fo pass. I literally tumbled out of the old " bus,"
and shouting to L- fo bring along my tripod,
I rushed to where the boat was lying against the
All the French, British, and Belgian officials were
lined up, and the King was shaking hands as a
parting adieu. Whether it was right or not I did not
stop fo think. I swept by and rushed up the gang-
way as the King tumed with a final salure.
So close a shave was it that I barely had rime to
screw my camera on the stand ere the Prince of
Wales saluted the King and went ashore. The gang-
way was drawn away and, amid salures from the
officers and allied representatives, the boat left the
quay. I had filmed it all. Not an incident had
The King with the Admiral in charge of the ship,
KING AND PRESIDENT MEET 221
entered the cabin, and only then did I have a
moment's respire to realise what a narrow squeak
I had had.
We were just leaving the harbour. The sea looked
very choppy, and just ahead were seven torpedo
boats waiting to escort us across.
I went up on fo the top deck, and obtained sonne
very interesting scenes of these boats taking up their
positions around. Then the King canne up and
mounted the bridge. How happy he looked!
A King in every sense of the word. Who, if they
could see him now, could ever have any doubts as to
the issue of the war ? I filmed him as he stood on
the bridge. In nnid-channel the sea was getting
rather rough, and to keep nny feet, and at the sanne
rime prevent the cannera from being bowled over-
board, was rather a task, and this connpelled nne at
firmes to call in the help of sonne blue-jackets stand-
ing near by.
At last the white cliffs of old England hove in
sight, and to rnake rny filrn-story cornplete I filrned
the cliffs, with Dover Castle perched high above like
the grinn watch-dog itis.
And then, as the boat drew into the harbour, I got
near the gangway in order fo land first and filnn His
Majesty as he canne ashore. I nnanaged to do this,
and entering the royal special (by which I was
pernnitted to travel) I reached Victoria in due course
with what, in nny hunnble judgnnent, was one of the
finest kinennatograph records that could possibly be
obtained of an altogether rnernorable and historic
THE HUSH! HUSH!--A WEIRD AND FEARFUL
Something in the Wind--An Urgent Message fo Report at Head-
quarters--And What Came Of It--I Hear or the First Time
o the " Hush ! Hush ! "--And Try to Discover What It Is--
A Wondcrul Night Scene--Dawn Breaks and Rcveals a
Marvellous Monster--What Is It ?
I HAD been busy in London preparing the film
of the King's visit to his troops m France,
when I received an urgent message to report
immediately at General Headquarters--most im-
portant. I reported to Captain
" Can you get away in the morning, Malins ? The
boat train leaves early."
" If there is something doing I wouldn't miss it
for worlds ! " I replied.
" It's quite evident there is," he said, " or they
wouldn't want you so urgently."
" l've only got to get my supply of film stock," I
said ; " l'll manage it during the night somehow, and
meet you at Charing Cross in the morning."
INo, I certainly was not going to miss a fight, for
undoubtedly another offensive was about fo take
That night I managed to get sufficient film stock
together. In the morning we proceeded to France.
The following morning at General Headquarters I
got the news. Reporting to Colonel , he told
me of the coming attack. " Do you want to get it ? "
" Yes, sir, I do ; and from the first line if possible.
THE HUSH ! HUSH ! 223
I want to improve on the Battle of the Somme film.
What rime does if corne off ? "
"I don't know; but if you will call on--men-
tioning a captain at the Headquarters of one of the
corps--he will be able to put you right on the
section of the attack." With that information I
left, and packing my apparatus left for Headquarters.
The captain was there.
" You are the 'movie' man, eh ? Corne in.
Now tell me what you want."
" Where is the attack taking place, and af what
rime ? " I asked.
" Look here," he said, unfolding a map, " this is
out objective," pointing to a certain place. " We
are going to get up fo the yellow line, and I suggest
that you go 4o Brigade Headquarters. They
are in a wood just below Redoubt. I will ring
up the General and tell him you are coming. He
will give you all the information and assistance you
reqmre. They know the ground more intimately
than we do back here. You are prepared to stay
up there, of course ? "
" Of course," I said. " I always carry my blanket
" Well it cornes off on the fifteenth, rather early
in the morning. The General will give you zero
" Do you know the exact time ? " I said. " Do
you think it will be too early for me---so far as the
light is concerned ? " I added hurriedly, with a
" Well no. I think you will just manage if," he
Thanking him I hurried off fo Brigade Head-
quarters. They were in an old German dug-out of
huge dimensions. There were three distinct floors
or rather corridors, one above the other. The
galleries wound in and around the hillside, and the
224 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
bottom one must have been at the depth of eighty
feet. Scottish troops were in 4he trenches, which
were being held as support lines. I entered the
dug-out, and around a long table was seated the
General and his staff.
" General , sir ? " I enquired.
" Yes," he said; "corne in, will you ? You are
' Movies,' aren't you ? They have jus4 rung me up.
Have some lunch and tell me what you want."
Dtring lunch I explained my mission.
" Well," he said, " I am glad you are giving us a
show. There is no need to tell you what the Scottish
bat4alion have accomplished."
Lunch finished, he General with he Brigadier-
Major went into details as to the best position from
which I could see the show.
" I want, if possible, 4o get an unobstructed view
of 4he Brigade front."
"' Trench,' is 4he place," he said. " A'hat
do you say ? you know it."
" I think, sir, tha4's as good as anywhere, but it's
strafed rather badly."
" How far is tha4 from the Bosche fron4 line ? "
We measured it on 4he map. I4 was eight hundred
" Too far off; I mus4 get much closer," I said.
" Isn't there a place in our fron4 4rench ? "
" There's a machine-gun position in a sap head,"
said an officer. " I am sure that would sui4 you, but
you'll get strafed. Bosche cannot fail 4o see you."
" Wha4 time is zero hour ? " I asked the General.
" At 6.2o," he said.
Great Scott, I though4, 6.20 summer timereal
time 5.20, and in Sep4ember only one chance in a
million that the sky would be clear enough 4o get
an exposure. Certainly if the mornings were any-
4hing like they had been during the last week it
would be an absolu4e impossibili4y.
TIIE IAI'II-EIrlI"I-I O1: "'I.;INII¥- I %VAS HURIEI) IN'FO TtlE TRENCII
IN FçRI-GROIINI» I:Y THE BI.'[STING OF A GERMAN SIIEI.I., AND A,'OKE
MANY HçI.]I(S I A'rEI( WHIl SIIEI.I. SI|çCK AN| REAI I.gED | IIAD IEEN
IY|NG I;ESIIE A IEAI «:EIMAN AI.I 1XIGIIT. IIE II|) BEF.N "]'IIERE
| ,I|«UI.I SAV ABOIrF "I'IllRE YEEK.
P.I,:'41.:I.VES WATCIIINt; 'PLIE .1,I'PAI'K 1" :IAICI'INI'I'II'II.
THE HUSH ! HUSH ! 225
Anyway there was just a chance, and I decided
fo take it.
Therefore I suggested that I should go up very
early in the morning fo out front line, getting there
about four o'clock. There would just be sufficient
light for me fo have a look round, that is if Brother
Fritz wasn't too inquisitive. I could then fix up
the camera and wait.
" What time does the barrage start ? " I asked.
" Ten minutes fo zero. It's going tobe very
intense, I can tell you that."
" Well, sir, there is one special point I would like
you to clear up for me if possible. What the deuce
is the ' Hush ! Hush !' ? "
Af that question every one in the place laughed.
"Hush! hush! not so loud," one said, with mock
gravity. " You mean the Tanks."
"I ara just as wise as ever. Anyway, whether
they are called the 'Hush Hushers' or 'Tanks,'
what the dickens are they ? Every one bas been
asking me if I bave seen the ' Hush ! hush !' until I
have felt compelled fo advise them o take more
water with if in future. At first I thought they were
suffering from a unique form of shell-shock."
" I haven't seen them," he said. "All I know is
that we have two of them going over with out boys.
This is their line; they will make straight for the
left-hand corner of the village, and cross the trenches
on your left about two hundred yards from the
point suggested. They are a sort of armoured car
arrangement and shells literally glance off them.
They will cross trenches, no marrer how wide, crawl
in and out shell-holes, and through barbed wire,
push down trees and "
I turned fo the General. " I certainly suggest, sir,
that should go to hospital ; the war is getting
on his nerves. He will tell me next that they can
fly as well."
226 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
The General laughed. But quite seriously he told
me if was all true.
" Then I hope I shall be able fo get a good film of
them," I said, " especially as this will be the first
rime ihey bave been used. "
Finally it was agreed that , who was going up
to the front line fo observe for the division, should
act as my guide, and take me up in the morning af
" We shall have fo start about that rime," he
said; " it will be possible fo go there for quite a
good distance over the top of the ridge. If will
save trudging through'-- Trench,' and there's
sure fo be a lot of troops packed in it. In any
case it will take us about three-quarters of an
" And [ want at least au hour fo look round and
find a suitable spot; so three o'clock will suit me
" Hullo ! " I said, as I beard tbe crack of a 59
crump burst iust outside the dug-out. "Can't ]3osche
let you alone here ? "
" No," he said, " he strafes us sometimes. He
put quite a lot in here the other day, and one went
clean through out cook-house, but no damage was
done, beyond spoiling out lunch. If he anticipates
our show in the morning, he will be sure to plaster
Af night I watched the effect of the flashes flore
our guns. They were rattling off at quite a good
pace. Wbat a gorgeous nigbt! Dotted all round
this skeleton of wbat was once a wood, but now
merely a few sticks of charred tree trunks, and in
and out as far as the eye could see, were scores of
tiny rires. The flames danced up and down like
elves, and crowded round tbe rires were groups of
our boys, laughing and chatting as if there was no
such thing as war. Now and then the flash of tbe
THE HUSH ! HUSH ! 227
big howitzers momentarily lighted up the whole
landscape. What a scene!
Having seen as much of the war as I bave done,
and having been practically through the campaign
from the very outset, it may surprise you that I
had not used myself to such sights. .Possibly I
ought to have done, but the fact remalns that I
cannot. These night scenes always appeal to me.
Every scene is so different, and looking at every-
thing from the pictorial point of view I wished with
all my heart I could have filmed such a wonderful
scene. But even had I been able to do so I could
not have reproduced the atmosphere, the sound of
the guns, the burst of the shells, the glare of the
star-shells, the laughter of the menuand some of
them were swearing. The impenetrable blackness
was accentuated by the dancing flames from the
rires. It was a sight to dream about; and almost
involuntarily reminded one of a scene from the
It was now midnight. My guide told me to follow
him. " We'll go down below and find a place in
which to snatch a little sleep." Down a long flight
of stairs we went, along corridors, then down another
flight and round more corridors. The passages
seemed endless, until af last we came to a halt
beside the bunk-like beds fastened on the wall.
" What an extraordinary place ; hov deep is it ? "
" About sixty feet," said my companion. " The
place is like a rabbit warren."
" Well, I'm glad you are with me, for I should
never find my way out alone." And I rolled my
blanket round me and went to sleep.
I was awakened by my guide. " Corne on," he
said ; " time we moved off."
I quickly got out of my blanket. Jove, how cold
it was! My teeth chattered like castanets.
" It's like an ice-house down here; let's go out
228 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
and see if any of the men bave any tire left. Might
be able fo bave a little hot tea before we go. I
bave some biscuits and odds and ends in my satchel."
" Will you let me bave a man to help me with
Iny tripod ? "
" Certainly, as a marrer of fact I arranged for one
Up we went. Along the corridors men were lying
about in their blankets, fast asleep. Holding a
piece of guttering candle in my hand, and shaking
like a leaf with cold, I stepped between the sleeping
men ; but it was anything but an easy task.
During the journey I missed my companion. By
a lucky accident I managed to find an exit, but it
was nowhere near the one I entered last night. Ah,
here's a tire, and quickly getting the water on the
boil, made some tea ; then shouldering the camera,
and helping me, by taking one of the cases, we
If was still ery dark, but the sky was quite free
from clouds. If only it would keep like that I might
just ge an exposure.
We proceeded as fast as the innumerable shell-
holes and old barbed wire would allow, and ruade
straight for the ruins of , then crossing the road
we followed the communication trenches along the
It was still pitch dark. I looked at my watch.
It was 4.30.
I'he trenches were full of life. Men were pouring
in fo take up their positions. Bosche put a few
shells over near by, but fortunately nobody was
touched. He was evidently nervous about some-
thing, for on several occasions he sent up star-shells,
in batches of six, which lighted up the whole ridge
like day, and until they were down again I stood
Day was breaking in the east. A low-lying mist
OVEI¢. "I'HE TOI' AT MARTIINI'UIUH» SF.I'T. l.q,} 1916. I PHOTOGRA|'HED
T|IlS SCF-NE AT 5.20 IN TIIE MORNING
'FXVO "MINUTES TO ZERO H«UR AT MARTINPUICH, SEl'T. 15TH , i916 ,
rHEN "'«X'ER THE TOP "
THE HUSH ! HUSH ! 229
hung over the village. I hoped if would hot affect
We were now in the trenches, and daylight was
gradually beginning fo appear.
" It's got fo light up a lot more if I'm going to
be able to film," I said. " But thank heaven the
sky is cloudless. That's the one chance."
All af once if seemed as though the sky lightened.
Actinic conditions improved considerably, and I
was just congratulating myself on my good fortune
" What's that, sir ? " said the man af my side,
who had been peering through a periscope.
Gingerly I raised myself above the parapet and
peered in the direction in which his finger pointed.
For a moment I could discern nothing. Then,
gradually out of the early morning mist a huge,
dark, shapeless obiect evolved. It was apparently
about three hundred yards away. It moved, and
judging by the subdued hum and a slight smoke
which it emitted--like the breath of an animal--if
I had never seen anything like it before. What
was it ?
THE ]UGGERNAUT CAR OF BATTLE
A Weird-looking Ob]ect Makes Its First Appearance Upon the
Battlefield--And Surprises Us Almost as Much as If Surprised
Fritz--A Death-dealing Monster that Did the blost Marvellous
Things--And Left the Ground Strewn wth Corpses--Realism
of the Tank Pictures.
W HAT in the world was if ?
As we stood there peering af the
thing, we forgot for the moment that
our heads were well above the parapet. We were
too fascinated by the movements of the weird-
looking object to bother about such a trifle as that t
And the Bosche trenches were only two hundred
yards away ! For the life of me I could hot take my
eyes off it. The thing--I really don't know how else
fo describe it--ambled forward, vith slow, ierky,
uncertain movements. The sight of it was weird
enough in ail conscience. At one moment its nose
disappeared, then with a slide and an upward glide
it climbed fo the other side of a deep shell crater
which lay in its path. I stood amazed and watched
its antics. I forgot all about my camera, and my
desire fo obtain a picture of this veird and terrifying
engine of destruction. Like every one else, its un-
expected appearance on the scene first surprised
and then held me under its strange influence.
So that was the" Hush ! hush ! "--the Juggernaut
Car of/3attle. One of the Tanks, the secret of whose
appearance, and indeed of whose very existence, had
been guarded more carefully than all the treasures
of the Indies.
THE JUGGERNAUT CAR OF BATTLE :23i
Truly Bosche was in for a big surprise.
Al1 this time I had scarce taken my eyes off the
ugly-looking monster. It waddled, if ambled, it
jolted, it rolled, it--well it did everything in turn
and nothing long--or wrong. And most remarkable
of all, this weird-looking creature with a metal bide
performed tricks which ahnost ruade one doubt
the evidence of one's senses. Big, and ugly, and
awkward as it was, clumsy as its movements appeared
to be, the thing seemed imbued with life, and pos-
sessed of the most uncanny sort of intelligence and
understanding. It came to a crater. Down went
its nose; a slight dip, and a clinging, crawling
motion, and it came up merrily on the other side.
And all the rime as it slowly advanced, it breathed
and belched forth tongues of flame; its nostrils
HOW I FILMED THE WAR
seemed to breathe death and destruction, and the
Huns, terrified by its appearance, were mown down
like corn falling to the reaper's sickle.
Presently it stoppe& The humming ceased. The
spell was broken. We looked at one another, and
then we laughed. How we laughed! Officers and
men were doubled up with mirth as they watched
the acrobatic antics of this mechanical marvel--this
Now the metal monster was on the move again.
It was advancing on the German position. The
Bosche machine-guns got busy and poured a very
hail of shells and bullets upon the oncoming death-
dealcr. It made no difference. The Tank pursued
its way, unpcrturbed by all the racket of the ex-
ploding metal on its sides. Shells seemed to glide
off it quite harmlessly. Bullets had no effect upon
this extraordinary apparition.
Fritz must have thought the devil himself had
broken loose from hell and was advancing to de-
vour him. The Huns scurried to their funk-holes
and craters, their hiding-places, and their trenches
like so many rabbits. Still the Tank advanced,
pausing now and then, astride a particularly wide
crater, and sweeping the surrounding pit-scarred
ground with its machine-guns. Up popped a
German head. Zip went a bullet ; and down went
the head for the last rime. How many Germans
were crushed in their holes in that first advance
goodness only knows.
Presently the monster stopped again. There was
a pause. Nothing happened. A minutetwo
minutes went by. Still nothing happened. The
Germans began to regain their courage. Heads
popped up all over ttae place. Enemy troops began
to edge nearer and nearer to it, in spire of the bail
of bullets from our trenches. Then they began to
swarm round the strange creature the like of which
THE JUGGERNAUT CAR OF BATTLE 233
they had never seen before. To do them justice,
these Germans showed exceptional courage in the
face of unknown and altogether exceptional danger.
Mr. Tank meanwhile was not a bit disconcered by
their attentions, and continued to breathe forth
flames of tire, which did great havoc in the ranks of
the sightseers. But once their curiosity was satisfied
the Huns did their level best to damage the brute.
They fired at it ; they bombarded it ; they shelled
it; they clambered over it. All to no purpose.
Presently that ominous humming, snorting sound
reached us again, and the monster began to move
away. Where it had stood the ground was strewn
with the dead bodies of German soldiers, and I was
told afterwards that over three hundred corpses
were counted to the credit of the first Tank that
ever crossed " No Man's Land."
Meanwhile our boys had been busy. Following
in the wake of the Tank, they had cleaned up quite
a lot of ground, and all the rime, with my camera
on them, I had secured a series of fine pictures.
I don't think I ever laughed so heartily at anything
as I did on the first day that I saw the Tanks in
action, and officers and men all agree that they never
saw a Iunnier sight in all their lives. But whilst
they amused us they put the fear of the devil into
Fritz, and whole parties of men ran forward, hands
up, waving their handkerchiefs, and shouting " Kam-
erad," and gave themselves up as willing prisoners
in our hands.
The Tanks bave been one of the big surprises and
big successes of the war.
WHERE THE VILLAGE OF GUILLEMONT WAS
An Axvful Specimen of War Devastation--lreparing for an Advance
--Giving the ]3osche " Jumps"--13reakfast Under Fire--My
Camcra Fails Me Just Beiore the Opening of the Attack--lBut I
Manage to Set if Right and Get Some Fine Pictures--Our Guns
" Talk " Like the Crack of a Thousand ThundersA Wonderful
FTER 'the battle of Martinpuich the nature
of my work brought me in contact with
many stirring incidents, which, if put on
record here, would be merely repeating 4o a certain
degree many of my previous experiences, therefore
I do not intend 4o bore my readers by doing so.
From one section of out front to the other I was
kept continually on the more. On the 25th Septem-
ber an attack was timed for twelve o'clock noon for
Morval and Lesboeufs, and the Guards, London
Scottish, Norfolks, Suffolks and many other regi-
ments were to take part. The day before I visited
out front in that section to obtain preliminary scenes.
The London Scottish were preparing to leave to take
up their batfle positions. From one front to the
other I hurried, obtaining scenes of the other regi-
ments on Ehe way up. I stayed during Ehe night
with an oflïcer of an I8-pounder battling on the
left of Guillemont. The Bosche was "strafing" the
place pretty badly. I will not say I slept comfort-
ably, for shells came crashing over much too closely
4o do so ; in fact, I was up all night.
On several occasions I r.eally thought my last
minute had corne. The noise was deafening, the
WHERE GUILLEMONT WAS 235
glare and flash although beautiful was sickening.
Our guns were pouring out a withering tire, and the
ground quivered and shook, threatening fo tumble
the temporary shelter about my ears. One shell,
which came very near, burst and the concussion
slightly blew in the side of the shelter ; if also seemed
fo momentarily stun me ; I crouched down as close
fo earth as possible. I will adroit that I felt a bit
" windy," my body was shaking as if with ague;
a horrible bu.zzing sensation was in my head, dizzi-
ness was comlng over me. I dare not lose control of
myself, I thought ; with an effort I staggered up and
out of the shelter, clutching my head as the pain was
terrible. I dropped down into an old German trench
and sat in the bottom. In a few minutes my head
pains eased down slightly, but my nerves were still
shaky. Af that moment one of the battery officers
" Hullo ! you got clear then ? " he said.
" Yes, only just, by the appearance of things."
"I saw if drop near by where we left you and
felt quite certain it had done you in. Feel all
right ? "
" Yes," I said, " with the exception of a thick
head. I will get my camera stuff down here. Lend
me your torch, will you ? "
I took if out and found my way back to the
Fritz was now jumping over shrapnel, so, believe
me, I did not hang about on my journey. Out guns
continued their thundering and tire was literally
pouring from their mouths. I got down in the
trench, as close as possible, sat on my camera-case
and so passed the remainder of the night, thinking--
well, many things.
Towards dawn the firing gradually died down
until, comparing if with the night, if was quite
peaceful. I got out of my trench and sat up on the
236 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
parapet. My head was still throbbing from the con-
cussion of the night, and having no sleep made me
feel in rather a rotten state.
" How's the head, old chap ? " asked an officer I
knew who came up to me at that moment.
" Better," I replied, " but needs improvement."
"We are just making some tea; corne and
" Jove, rather ! It may stop this jumping."
A slight mist was hanging over the shell-pocked
ground, if was gradually rising, as I had seen it on
previous occasions, and the horrible stench from the
putrifying dead seemed fo rise with it. As far as the
eye could sec in every direction the ground had been
churned up by the fearful shell-fire. The shell-holes
met each other like the holes in a sponge. Not a
blade of grass or green stuff existed; the place
which once marked a wood was now a space with a
twisted, tangled mass of barbed wire and, here and
there, short wooden stumps, slashed, split, and torn
into stlreds--the remains of once beautiful trees.
The village of Guillemont literally does not exist,
in fact, it is an absolz«te impossibility to tell where the
fields ended and the village began. It is one of the
most awful specimens of the devastating track of
war that exists on the Western Front. The village
had been turned by the Bosche into a veritable
fortress ; trenches and strong points, bristling with
machine-guns, commanded every point which gave
vantage to the enemy. But, after much bloody
fighting, out troops stormed and captured the place
and the German losses must have been appalling.
Many had been buried, but the work of consolidating
the ground won and pressing on the attack does not
permit out men thoroughly fo cleanse the square
toiles of ground and bury the bodies and fragments
that cover it.
Unknowingly, when I had hurried for cover in the
WHERE GUILLEMONT WAS 237
trench, the night before I had been within twelve
feet of a party of rive dead Bosches, and the atmo-
sphere in the early morning was more than I could
tolerate, so picking up my camera, etc., I took up
A snorting, crunching sound struck my ears and
looking on my left I observed a Tank ambling
forward to take up ifs position for the coming show.
It was emitting clouds of bluish-grey smoke from
its exhaust which gave it a rather ghostly appear-
ance in the mist.. Now and again as it came to
a very deep shell-hole it stopped to poise itself on
the rira and then genfiy fipped ifs nose downwards,
disappearing, to rise like a huge toad on the other
side, and then continue its j ourney.
More troops were coming up in platoon to take
up their position in supports, ammunition carriers
were taking up fresh supplies of bombs, Red Cross
men were making their way forward--not a sound
was to be heard from them and the whole place was
now a line of silent movement. All the main work
and preparation was to finish before the last shadow
of night had been chased away by the light of the
rising sun, before the setting of which many of the
boys would lay down their lives that justice and
civilisation might triumph over the false doctrine of
blood and iron and barbarism--German Kultur.
" Corne along, Malins, your cup of tea is ready,"
shouted an officer.
I left my camera under cover of a fallen tree trunk
and crossed to a covered shell-hole which answered
to the naine of dug-out. Anyway, apart from
shrapnel or a direct hit from an H.E., we were com-
paratively safe, being below ground level. Along
the centre was a rough plank on two boxes and
grouped either side were several other officers of the
battery. We all of us soon forgot about the previous
238 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
night's efforts of Fritz in a gorgeous repast of bacon,
fried bread, and tea.
Bosche was now fairly quiet ; he was "strafing"
the ridge in front with an occasional H.E. ; some of
our batteries on my right were still af it. It was now
quite daylight ; our aeroplanes were flitting across
the sky, diving low to obtain better observation of
the enemy, and incidentally getting "strafed" by his
anti-aircraft guns which did not interest them in the
" What rime is zero-hour ? " I asked.
" Twelve-thirty," was the reply. " We start our
intense at twelve o'clock, every gun we have in this
section is going to fairly give Bosche j umps; in
fact he will have fo find a ' better 'ole.' "
This remark caused considerable laughter.
"I am going to get my scenes from 'Ginchy
Telegraph ' ; it seems a very likely spot by the map.
Shall I get there about eleven o'clock and fix up ? "
" Good," said one. " I will lend you an orderly fo
act as guide if it's any benefit fo 3,ou."
Thanking him, I gladly accepted the offer.
Breakfast over, I collected my apparatus and
stood to watch the sections which Fritz " strafed "
the most. By practising this method if bas made it
possi .ble for me to do my work in comfort on previous
occasions. I noticed there were one or two points
which he "strafed" methodically, therefore I
judged if safe fo make direct for my point over the
top, then enter a communication trench just on this
side of the ridge.
By this time my guide came up, so sharing my
apparatus, we started off. The distance fo Ginchy
Telegraph was about one kilometre. Shrapnel was
playing upon both roads leading from Guillemont,
H.E. was bursting on my right in Lueze Wood, or
" Lousy Wood," as it is called here, also in Delville
Wood on my left. Airer a very tiring tramp over
WHERE GUILLEMONT WAS 239
shell-holes and rubble I eventually reached my
post. From this point I could see practically the
whole of our section between Lesboeufs and Morval,
but I immediately found out fo my annoyance that
the slight breeze would bring nll the smoke back
towards our lines. The resulting effect would not be
serious enough fo in any way hinder our operations,
but photographically it was disastrous, and even if
phoXographed the effect would not be impressive in
the slightest degree, merely a wall of smoke which
to the public would appear unintelligible. But in that
seemingly useless cloud were falling thousands of
shells of all calibres, tearing the earth into dust, the
German line into fragmenEs, forming a living and
death-dealing curtain of blazing steel behind which
our men were advancing.
But adverse wind conditions were not all, for
when I had taken the camera ouX of ifs case I found
that by some means or other Xhe lens mounEs had
received such a knock as fo throw if out of alignment.
How if happened I cannot think, for Xhe case was
intact, the only possible explanation being that I
musX have dropped if the night before when I took
shelter in the trench and in my dazed condffion did
noX remember doing so.
It was quite impossible fo repair iX even tem-
porarily in rime fo obtain the opening attack, so I
hurried away and took shelter behind some ruins on
the south-west side of Xhe village. If was now close
on twelve ; our intense bombardment would shortly
begin, and I worked feverishly at Xhe repair to the
eamera, perspiring af every porc.
Suddenly, like the terrific crack of a thousand
thunders, our tire on the German position began.
Bursting from the mouths of hundreds of British
guns ff came, the most asXonishing, astounding,
brain-splitting roar Xhat I had ever heard. In a few
moments if reached a crescendo; every one near by
240 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
was transfixed with awe. Hundreds of shells went
shrieking overhead. The air was literally alive with
Imagine, if you can, being in the midst of rive
hundred drums. Ata given moment every drummer
beats his drum with ever-increasing force without
a fraction of a moment's respire. Add to this the
most soul-splitting crash you have ever heard and the
sound as of a gale of wind shrieking through the
telegraph wires. It will give you a little idea of
what it was like under this bombardment. It
seemed fo numb one's very brain. What it must
bave been like in the German position is beyond
me fo conceive. We were certainly giving Fritz a
At last my camera was finished. Looking in the
direction of Bouleaux Wood I could sec our men still
pouring forward over the open. I raced towards
them as hard as possible and filmed them going
across first one section then the other ; Bosche shells
were falling near them, knocking a few out but
missing most, first one line then the other.
Bosche was dropping large " coal boxes" all along
our supports. Two Tanks coming up provided me
with several interesting scenes as Fritz was pester-
ing them with his attentions but without injury.
I obtained a scene of two heavy " crumps " bursting
j ust behind one of them, but the old Tank still
snorted on its way, the infantry advancing close
behind in extended formation.
Throughout the remainder of the day I was kept
well on the move, filming the many-varying scenes
of battle, either whilst they were in progress or
immediately afterwards. Prisoners came pouring in
from all directions, first a batch of two hundred and
then odd stragglers, then further batches. The
Guards seemed to have had a rather good bag, as I
noticed that most of the Bosches were brought in
WHERE GUILLElXIONT WAS 241
under care of guardsmen. One Tommy came in the
proud possessor of six.
From the immediate fighting ground I ruade my
vay towards Trones Wood, upon the outskirts of
which the Guards had their dressing station. Many
of our men were there, lying about in all directions
on stretchers, waiting to be taken away fo the
Casualty Clearing Station. I filmed many scenes
here of our wonderful men suffering their physical
torments like the heroes they were. One, in par-
ticular, sitting on a box making a cigarette, had a
broad smile on his face, though the wlole of his clbow
was shot completdy away. Another came in, helped
along by two other men ; he was a raving lunatic,
his eyes ghastly and horrible to look upon, and he
was foaming at the mouth, and gibbering wildly.
" Shell-shock," said the doctor, close beside me;
"bad case too, poor chap ! Here, put him into this
ambulance; three men had better go with him to
look after him."
" Do you get many cases like that ? " I asked the
" Yes," he said, " quite a few, but not all so bad as
Wounded were still pouring in, both ours and
German. The Bosche was shelling the ground only
a short distance away and I managed to film several
of our wounded men being dressed whilst shells
vere bursting in the near background.
Another man was brought In on a stretcher.
I looked closely at him when he was set on the
ground. He had been knocked out by shell-fire.
A piece of shrapnel was buried in his jaw, another
large piece in his head, and, by the bloodstains on
his tunic, about his body also.
He was groaning pitiably. The doctor bending
down had a look at him, then stood up.
" Ifs no use," he said, " he's beyond human aid ;
242 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
he cannot last many minutes. Place him over
there," he said fo the stretcher-bearers. The men
gently lifted the poor fellow up, and less than three
minutes afterwards one came up fo the doctor.
" He's dead, sir."
" Just tell the padre then, will you, and get his
disc and name and have his belongings packed up and
And so the day drifted on. The sun was blazing
hot; every man there was working like a demon.
Perspiring at every pote, each doctor was doing the
work of four ; the padre was here, there and every-
where, giving the wounded tea and coffee, and
cheering them up by word and deed.
Towards evening there came a lull in the attack.
It had been a great success ; all our objectives had
been gained; the wounded driIted in in lessening
An elderly doctor in his shirt sleeves had just
finished binding up the stump of a man's leg, the
lower part of which had been torn away by a piece of
shell. He stood up, mopped his forehead, and, after
bidding the carriers take the man away, he lay on
the ground practically exhausted, dried blood still
upon his hands and arms and scissors held loosely in
his fingers ; he closed his eyes to try and doze.
" That doctor is a marvel," said an officer fo me.
" He snatches a Iew moments sleep between his
cases. Now watch ! "
Another stretcher-party was coming in, and it was
set down. An orderly went up fo the doctor and
lightly touched him on the shoulder.
" Another case, sir," he said.
The doctor opened his eyes and quickly rose to
The wounded man's head was bound round with an
old handkerchief, matted with blood which had dried
hard. Warm disinfectant was quickly brought and
WHERE GUILLEMONT WAS 243
the doctor proceeded fo gently loosen the rough
bandage from the head, revealing a nasty head
wound, a gash about three inches long and very
" What do you think of that ? " he said, holding
out something in his hand fo me, " that's from this
I looked and saw that if was a piece of his shrapnel
helmet about two inches square, if had been driven
into the flesh on his head, fortunately without break-
ing the skull. The wound was quickly dressed and
the doctor again lay down fo snatch a few more
" This will go on all night," said the padre, " and
all day to-morrow. Flave a cup of tea at my canteen,
will you ? "
Having had nothing fo eat or drink all day I
accepted the invitation. On the opposite side of the
wood was a small shack built of old lumber, and every
man before he left by ambulance received a cup of
tea or coffee and biscuits.
" I find the boys greatly appreciate if," he said.
I j oined him in a cup of tea.
" Don't you think it's a good idea ? "
" Excellent," I replied, " like heaven to a lost
" Look round here," he said, pointing away in the
distance. "' Did you ever see such a ghastly travesty of
nature, the whole country-side swept clean of every
green and living thing, beautiful woods and charm-
ing villages blown to the four winds of heaven, and
this might bave been our own beautiful sunny downs,
our own charming villages. The British public should
go down on ifs knees every day of the week and thank
God for their deliverance."
The sun was now setting, and having obtained all
the scenes I required, I decided fo make my way
back. We were still shelling the German lines very
244 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
hard, and the I3osche was putting over a few of his
H.E. and high shrapnel, but fortunately none came
within a hundred yards of us.
I bade adieu to tlae doctors and the padre.
" I hope we shall see the films in town," they said.
" It's a pity you can't introduce the sounds and
general atmosphere of a battle like this. Good-bye,
best of luck ! " they shouted.
I left tlem and ruade my way across to the battery
fo thank tle Captain. When I arrived I met one of
" Where's " I asked.
" I ara afraid you won't see him," he replied.
" Why ? " hall suspecting some bad news.
" Wcll, he and four ohers were killed shortly after
I turned slowly away and walked off in the
direction of Guillemont.
A hundred yards further on I came upon a scene
which afforded some relief to the tragedies of the
day. A short bantam-like British Tommy was
cursing and swearing volubly at a burly German
sitting on the ground i-ubbing his head and groaning
like a bull. Tommy, with a souvenir cigar in his
inouth, »vas telling him in his best cockney English
to get a more on.
" What's the inatter ? " I said.
" Well, sir, it's like this. This 'ere cove is my own
prisoner and 'e's been gi»-ing me no end of trouble,
tried to pinch my gun, sir, 'e did, so I'it 'ira on 'is
head, but 'e ain't 'urt, sir, nota bit, are yer, Fritz ?
Corne on." And Fritz, thinking discretion the better
part of valour, got up, and Tommy strutted off with
his big charge as happy as a peacock.
FIGHTING IN A SEA OF MUD
Inspecting a Tank that was Hors de Combat--Ail that was Left of
Mouquet Farm--A German Underground Fortress--A Trip in
the Bowels of the Earth--A Weird and WonderIul Experience.
FTER our successful attack and capture of
Lesboeufs and Morval on September 25th,
1916, beyond consolidating our gains there
was comparatively little done in the way of big
offensives until the capture of Mouquet Farm and
Thiepval and the capture of Beaumont Hamel--
that fortress of fortresses--on November I3th, and I
devoted the interval to recording the ground won.
One interesting incident occurred when I filmed
Mouquet Farm situate between Pozières and
Thiepval. Looking at the Farm from the strategical
point of view, I feel quite confident in saying that
only British troops could have taken it. It was one
of the most wonderful defensive points that could
possibly be conceived, and chosen by men who made
a special study of such positions. The whole place
was thickly planted with machine-guns, so cunningly
concealed that it was impossible to observe them
until one was practically at the gun's mouth.
To get here if was necessary to go down a long
steep glacis, then up another to the farm. The
Germans, with their network of underground
passages and dug-outs, were able to concentrate at
any threatened point with their machine-guns in
such a manner that they would have our troops
under a continual stream of lead for quite one
246 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
thousand yards without a vestige of cover. The farm
had been shelled by our artillery time after rime,
until the whole ground for toiles round was one huge
mass of shell-craters, but the Germans, in their dug-
outs forty and fifty feet underground, could not be
reached by shell-fire. I will not go into details of
how the place was eventually taken by the Midlanders
--it will remain an epic of the war.
The weather was now breaking up. Cold winds
and rain continually swept over the whole Somme
district, invariably accompanied by thick mists.
I wanted fo obtain a film showing the fearful
mud conditions, which we were working hard and
fighting in and under. And such mud ! You could
not put the dcpth in inches. Nothing so ordinary ;
it was Ieet deep. I have known relief battalions take
six hours to reach their allotted position in the front
line, when, in the dr.y season, the saine journey could
be accomplished n an hour; and the energy
expended in wading through such a morass tan be
imagined. Many rimes I have got stuck in the
clayey slime well above my knees and bave required
the assistance of two, and sometimes three men to
help me out. To turn oneself into a lump of mud, all
one had to do was to walk down fo the Iront line;
you would undoubtedly be taken for a part of the
parapet by the time you arrived. I asked a Tommy
once what he thought of it.
" Sir," he replied, "there ain't no blooming word
to describe it ! " And I think he was right.
On one journey, when filming the carrying of
munitions by mule-back--as that was the only
method by which our advanced field-guns could be
supplied--while they were being loaded af a dump
near Wood, the mud was well above the mules'
knees, and, in another instance, it was actually
touching their bellies. In such conditions our men
were fighting and winning battles, and not once did
FIGHTING IN A SEA OF MUD 247
I hear of a single instance where it affected the morale
of the men. We cursed and swore about if ; who
wouldn't ? If retarded our progress ; we wallowed
in it, we had to struggle through toiles of if nearly up
fo our knees ; we slept in it or tried to ; we are in it,
it even got unavoidably mixed up with our food ; and
sometimes we drank it. And we tolerated if all,
month after month. If it was bad for us, we knew
it was far worse for the Bosche, for hot only had
he to live under these conditions, but he was
subj ected to our hellish bombardment continually
without rest or respite.
Thus it was I filmed Mouquet Farm and other
scenes in the neighbourhood. I went to Pozières and
then struck across country. On my way I passed
a Tank which, for the rime being, was hors de
combat. It naturally aroused my interest. I closely
inspected it, both inside and out, and, while I
stood regarding if, two whizz-bangs came over in
quick succession, bursting about thirty feet away.
The fact immediately occurred to me that the
Tank was under observation by the Bosche and
he, knowing the attraction if would have for
enquiring natures, kept a gun continually trained
upon it. I had just got behind the body of the thing
when another shell dropped close by. I did hot stop
to judge the exact distance. I cursed the mud
because it did hot allow me to run fast enough, but
really I ought to have blessed it. The fact that it
was so muddy caused the shell to sink more deeply
into the ground before exploding, ifs effective radius
being also more confined.
When I got clear of the Tank, the firing ceased.
I mentally vowed that, for the future, temporarily
disabled Tanks near the firing-line would hot
interest me, unless I was sure they were under good
I continued my journey to the farln, but kept
248 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
well below the top of the ridge. At one section, to
save my dying a sailor's death, duck-boards had been
placed over the mud to facilitate easier travelling.
It ruade me feel like going on for ever, after plough-
ing for hours through mud the consistency of
Eventually I arrived on the ]figh ground near
Mouquet. Many of out field-gun batteries had
taken up their position near by: they had turned
old shell-holes into gun-pits--occasionaily a burst of
firing rang out, and Bosche was doing his level
best to find them with his 5-9 crump. Here I
managed to obtain several very interesting scenes.
The farm, as a farm, did not exist ; a mass of
jumbled-up brick»vork bere and there suggested
that once upon a rime, say ioo B.c., if might bave
been. In due rime I reached the place. A machine-
gun company were in possession, and I round an
oflïcer, who offered to show me over the Bosche's
underground fortress. I entered a dug-out entrance,
the usual type, and switching on my electric torch,
proceeded with uncertain steps down into the
bo»vels of the earth. The steps were thick with mud
and water ; water also was dripping through ai1 the
crevices in the roof, and the offensive smell of dead
bodies reached me.
" Have you cleaned this place out ? " I called to
my friend in front.
" Yes," he said. His voice sounded very hollow in
this noisome, cavernous shaft. And it was cold--
heavens how cold ! Ugh !
" There was one gallery section ; where it leads to
we cannot find out, but it was blown in by us and
evidently quite a few Bosches with it ; anyway, we
are not going to disturb if. There is a possibility of
the whole gallery collapsing about out ears."
" We are at the bottom now; be careful, turn
sharp to the left."
FIGHTING IN A SEA OF MUD 249
" Why this place must be at least forty feet deep."
" Yes, about that. This gallery runs along to more
exits and a veritable rabbit warren of living compart-
ments. See these bullet-holes in the side here,"
pointing to the wooden planks lining the gallery.
" When our men entered the other end he Bosche
here had a machine-gun fixed up and so they played
it upon anybody who came near ; lit up only by the
gun flashes it must have been a ghastly sight. It
must have been the scene of devilish fighing judging
by the number of bullet-holes all over the place.
There are plenty of bloodstains about, somebody
caught it pretty badly."
I followed my guide until eventually we came 4o a
recessed compartment ; it was illuminated by two
German candles stuck in botles, and a rough
wooden table with two chairs, evidently looted from
the farm when the Bosche arrived.
We ruade our exit from another shaft and came
out ata spot about one hundred yards from the
place we had entered.
This will give you some idea of the way the ground
was interlaced with subterranean passages, and this,
mind you, was only one tunnel of many.
It was quite pleasant to breathe comparatively
fresh air agam after the foul atmosphere down
Bosche was more lively with his shell-fire and they
were coming much too near fo be pleasant. I fixed
up my machine and filmed several very good bursts
near some guns. He was evidently shooting blind,
or by the map, for they dropped anywhere but near
their objectives. Anyway it was his shoot and it was
not up to us to correct him.
THE EVE OF GREAT EVENTS
A Choppy Cross-Channel TripI Indulge in a Reverie--And Try fo
leer Into the Future--At Headquarters Again--Trying fo Cross
the River Somme on an Improvised Rait--In Peronne After the
German Evacuation--A Specimen of Hunnish "« Kultur."
INCE I left France in December many
changes had aken place; tremendous pre-
parations for the next great offensive were
in progress. We shall now see the results of all
our liard and bloody work, which began on the
Somme on July Ist, 1916. I think I can safely say that
we have never relqxed out offensive for a single day.
Granted the great pressure bas hot been kept up,
but in proportion to the weather conditions the push
bas been driven home relentlessly and ground won
foot by foot, yard by yard, until, in February, 1917,
the Germans retired behind their Bapamne defences.
Just how far they are going back one cannot
decide. The fact remains that the enemy is falling
back, not for strategical reasons, as he is so anxious
for his people and neutrals to believe, but because
he is forced to by the superiority of out troops and
out dominating gun-power. The beginning of the
end is at hand, the eve of great events is here ; the
results of this year's fighting will decide the future
peace of the world, the triumph of Chfistianity over
barbarity, of God over the devil.
I received instructions to proceed again to France.
" The capture of Bapaume is imminent, you must
certainly obtain that," I was told, " and add another
to your list of successes." So I left by the midday
THE EVE OF GREAT EVENTS 251
boat-train; the usual crowds were there to sec their
friends off. A descriptive writer could fill a volume
with impressions gathered on the station platform
an hour before the train starts. Scenes of pathos and
assumed joy; of strong men and women stifling
their emotions with a stubbornness that would do
justice fo the martyrdom of the Early Christians in
the arenas of Rome.
I arrived at Folkestone ; the wealher was very cold
and a mist hung over the sea, blotting everything
out of view beyond the end of the breakwater. The
train drew up alongside and it emptied itself of its
human khaki freight, who, with one accord, made
their way to the waiting steamboats, painted a dull
green-grey. All aboard: quickly and methodically
we passed up the gangway, gi»ing up our embarka-
tion ickets at the end and receiving another tard
to fill up, with personal particulars, as we stepped on
board. This card was to be given up upon one's
arrival at Boulogne.
Gradually the boat filled with officers and men;
kits and cars were hoisted aboard, life-belts were
served out ; everybody was compelled to put them
on in case of an accident.
Everything was aboard; the three boats were
ready to leave ; the two in Iront, one an old cross-
Channel paddle boat, the other one of the later
turbine class--but still no sign of leaving.
" What are we waiting for ? " I asked a seaman
" We must wait until we get permission ; the mist
is very thick, sir--going to be a cold journey." With
that he left. I buttoned my warm great-coat well
round my throat, pulled my cap firmly down over
my ears and went to the upper deck and peered out
into the thickening sea-mist towards the harbour
I went to the deck-rail and leaned over. Crowds
252 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
of sea-gulls cawed and wheeled round, seemingly
hung suspended in the air by an invisible wire. The
gulls fascinated me ; one second they were in the air
motionless on their huge outstretched wings, then
suddenly, seeing either the shape of a fish coming fo
the surface, or a crumb of bread floating, one of the
birds would dart down, make a grab with its beak af
he object, skim he surface of the water, then grace-
fully wing its way upwards and join its fellows.
I turned my gaze again seawards : the mist was
.drawing nearer, threatening o envelop our boats
n its embrace. How cold it was ! The upper deck
was now full of officers, busily putting on their life-
belts--I had secured naine to my kit-bag, ready to
put it on when required. At that moment an ofiïcer
came up to me.
" Have you a lifebelt ? " he said, " if so would you
mind putting it on ? I have to go ail round the boat
and see that everybody has one."
" Right," I said, and so I donned my life-belt, and
passing along the deck stood underneath the
Captain's bridge and gazed around. The men in the
two boats ahead of us were singing lustily, singing
because they were going back to the land of bursting
shells and flying death, laughing and singing because
they were going again out to fight for the Empire.
As I stood there, gazing into the mist and hearing
the continuous roar of the sea beating upon the
rocks behind me, a review of the events passed
through my mind which have happened to me, and
the countless scenes of tragedy and bloodshed, of
defeat and victory that I had witnessed since I first
crossed over to France in October, 1914. I recalled
my arrival in Belgium; the wonderful rearguard
actions of the Belgian troops ; the holding up of the
then most perfect (and devilish) fighting machine
the world had ever known, by a handful of volunteers.
The frightful scenes in "he great retreat through
THE EVE OF GREAT EVENTS 253
Belgium lived again ; the final stand along the banks
of the Ypres canal ; the opening of the dykes, which
saved the northern corner of France ; the countless
incidents of fighting I had filmed. Then my three
months wffh the French in the Vosges mountains,
the great strain and hardships encountered to obtain
the films, and now, affer eighteen months vih the
British army on the Western Front, I was again
going back--to what ?
How many had asked themselves
How many had tried as I was doing
future. They had laid down their lives figMing for
the cause of freedom. " But, although buried on an
alien soil, that spot shall be for ever called England."
I was quickly recalled to
flashing of a light on the end of the harbour
It was answered by a dull glare seawards ; every-
body was looking in that direction ; and then
A sudden clanging of bells, a slipping of ropes from
the first boat, a final cheer from
crowded decks, and, with ifs bov turned outwards
from the quay, it nosed its way into the open sea
beyond. The second boat quickly followed, and then,
with more clanging of bells and curt orders fo the
helmsman, she slid through the water like a grey-
hound, and, with shouts of " good luck ! " from the
people on the quay, we were quickly swallowed up
in the mist ahead.
The boats kept abreast for a considerable time
and then, out vessel taking the lead, with a torpedo
boat on either side and one ahead, the convoy
headed for France.
The j ourney across was uneventful. If vas quite
dark when we backed into harbour ai Boulogne;
flares were lit and, as the boat drew alongside
quay, the old familiar A.M.O. with his huge mega-
phone shouted in stentorian tones that all officers
and men returning on duty must report to him ai his
254 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
offices, fifty yards down the quay, etc., etc., etc.
His oration finished, the gangway was pushed aboard
and everybody landed as quickly as possible. I had
wired from the War Office earlier m the day to
G.H.Q., asking them to send a car to meet the boat.
Whether they had received my message in rime I did
hot know--anyway I could hot find it, so, that night,
I stayed at Boulogne, and the following evening
proceeded fo G.H.Q. to receive instructions.
Here I collected my apparatus and stood by for
instructions. News of our continued pressure on the
Gcrman line of retreat was penetrating through.
First one village, then another fell into our hands.
The fall of Peronne was imminent. My instructions
were to proceed to Peronne, or rather the nearest
point that it was possible to operate from.
I journeyed that night as far as Amiens, and
arriv.ing there about midnight, dog tired, went to my
prewous billet in the Rue l'Amiral Cambet, and
turned n. Early next morning I reported to a
major of the Intelligence Department, who told me
our troops had entered Peronne the previous night.
Rather disappointed that I had not been there to
obtain the entry, I made tracks for that town.
I took by-roads, thinking that they would be
more negotiable than fhe main ones, and, reaching
the outskirts of the village of Biaches, I left the car
there and prepared fo walk into Peronne. I could
see in the distance that the place was still burning ;
columns of smoke were pouring upwards and splash-
ing the sky with patches of villainous-looking black
Strapping my camera upon my back, and bidding
my man follow with my tripod, I started off down the
hill into Biaches. Then the signs of the German
retreat began to fully reveal themselves. The ground
was absolutely littered with the horrible wastage of
war; roads were torn open, leaving great yawning
THE EVE OF GREAT EVENTS 255
gaps that looked for all the world like huge j agged
wounds. On my right lay the Château of La Maison-
nette. The ground there was a shambles, for
numerous bodies in various stages of putrefaction
lay about as they had fallen.
I left this section of blood-soaked earth, and,
turning fo my left, entered the village, or rather the
site of what had once been Biaches. I will not
attempt to describe it; my pen is hot equal to
the task of conveying even the merest idea of the
state of the place. It was as if a human skeleton
had been torn asunder, bone by bone, and then flung
in all directions. Then, look around and say--this
was once a man. You could say the same thing of
Biaches--this was once a village. I stayed awhile
and filmed various scenes, including the huge
engineers' dump left by the Germans, but, as the
light was getting rather bad, I hurried as fast as
possible in the direction of Peronne.
I wandered down the path of duck-boards, over
the swamp of the Somme, filthy in appearance,
reeking in its stench, and littered with thousands of
empty bottles, that showed the character of the
drunken orgies to which the Huns had devoted
I reached the canal bank. Lying alongside was the
blackened ribs of a barge. Only the stern was above
water and if was still smouldering ; even the ladders
and foot-bridges were ail destroyed ; not a single
thing that could be of any use whatsoever had been
left. I trudged along the canal bank ; bridge after
bridge I tried, but it was no use, for each one in the
centre for about ten or twelve feet was destroyed--
and, stretched between the gap, I found a length of
wire netting covered over with straw--a cunning
trap set for the first one across. Not a bridge was
passable--they were all down !
Peronne lay on the other side and there I must
256 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
get before the light failed and while the place was
still burning ; if I had to make a raft of old tituber
I ruade up my mind to get there.
Returning to the bank I placed my camera upon
the ground and with the help of three men gathered
up some rusty tin cylinders, which, earlier in the
campaign, had been utilised as floats for rafts.
I had fished out of the river three planks, and
laying them at equal distance upon the cylinders, I
lashed them together and so made a rait of sorts.
With tare I might be able to balance myself upon
it and so reach the other section of the bridge and
then a rope at either end would enable my man and
tripod to be pulled across.
The idea was excellent, but I found that my
amateur lashing together with the strong current
that was running made the whole plan quite im-
possible, so, airer being nearly thrown into the river
several rimes, and one of the floats coming adrift
and washing away, and then doing a flying leap to
save myself being hurled into the water upon a
trestle which collapsed with my weight, I decided
to give up the experiment and explore the river
bank further down in the hope of getting across.
Eventually, airer going for about two kilometres,
I reached the ruins of the main bridge leading into the
town. This, also, was blown up by the retreating
Huns, but, by using the blocks of stone and twisted
iron girders as " stepping-stones," I reached the
The old gateway and dravbridge across the moat
were destroyed ; the huge blocks of masonry were
tossed about, were playthings in the hands of the
mighty force of high explosives which flung them
there. These scenes I carefully filmed, together with
several others in the vicinity of the ramparts.
The town was the same as every other I had filmed
--burnt and shell-riven. The place as a habitable
THE EVE OF GREAT EVENTS 257
town simply did not exist. German names were
everywhere ; the names of the streets were altered,
even a French washerwoman had put up a notice
that " washing was done here," in German.
Street after street I passed through and filmed.
Many of the buildings were still burning and atone
corner of the Grande Place flames were shooting out
of the windows of the three remaining houses in
Peronne. I hastily fitted up my camera and filmed
the scene. When I had finished it was necessary to
run the gauntlet, and pass directly under the burning
buildings to get into the square.
Showers of sparks were flying about, pieces of the
burning building were being blown in all directions by
the strong wind. But I had to get by, so, buttoning
up my collar tightly, fastening my steel shrapnel
helmet on my head, and tucking the camera under
my arm, I made a rush, yelling out to my man fo
follow with the tripod. As I passed I felt several
heavy pieces of something hit my helmet and another
blazing piece hit my shoulder and stuck there,
making me set up an unearthly yell as the flames
caught my ear and singed my hair. But, quickly
shooting past, I reached a place of safety, and
setting up the camera I obtained some excellent
views of the burning buildings.
Standing upon a heap of rubble, which once
formed a branch of one of the largest banking con-
cerns in France, I took a panoramic scene of the
great square. The smoke clouds curling in and
around the skeleton walls appeared for all the world
like some loathsome reptile seeming to gloat upon
its prey, loath to leave it, until it had ruade abso-
lutely certain that nota single thing was left fo be
With the exception of the crackling flames and the
distant boom of the gtlns, it was like a city of the
dead. The once beautiful church was totally
258 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
dcstroyed. In the square was the base of a monu-
ment upon which, before the war, stood a memorial
fo France's glorious dead in the war of 187o. The
" kulured " Germans had destroyed the figure and,
in its place, had stuck up a dummy stuffed with
sraw in the uniform of a French Zouave. Could
ever a greaer insult be shown 4o France !
Not conten with burning the whole town, the
Huns had gone to he trouble of displaying a huge
signboard on the side of a building in the square on
which wcre hese words: " Don't be vexed--just
Think of it ! The devils !
AN UNCANNY ADVENTURE
Exploring the Unknown--A Silence That Could be Felt--In the
Village of Villers-Carbonel--A Cat and Its Kittens in an Odd
Retreat--]3rooks' Penchant for" Souvenirs "--The First Troops
to Cross the Somme.
IEUTENANT B, the official " still"
photographer, and I have been com-
panions in a few strange enterprises in the
war, but I doubt whether any have equalled in
strangeness, and I might say almost uncanny,
adventure that which I am about fo record. In cold
type if would be pardonable for anyone fo dis-
believe some of the facts set forth, but, as I bave
proved for myself the perfect application of the
well-known saying that " truth is stranger than
fiction," I merely relate the facts in simple language
exactly as they happened, and leave them to speak
If was early morning on March I7th, x917, when
±he Germans began their headlong flight towards
their Cambrai, St. Quentin, or "Hindenburg '" Line.
When B and I hastened along the main St.
Quentin Road, troops and transports were as usual
everywhere. We passed through the ruined villages
of Foscaucourt and Estrées and brought our car ±o a
standstill about two kilometres from the village of
Villers-Crbonel, if being impossible owing ±o the
fearful road conditions fo proceed further.
We left the car and started off fo explore the
unknown. On either side of the road I noticed many
troops in their trenches ; they were looking down
260 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
at us as if we were something out of the ordinary,
until I turned to him and said"
" Is there anything funny about us ? These chaps
seem tobe highly interested in out appearance, or
something. What is it ? "
" I don't know," he said, " let's enquire."
So, going up fo an R.A.M.C. officer, who was
standing outside his dug-out, I asked him if there
was any news--in fact I enquired whether there was
a war on up there, everything seemed tobe so abso-
" Well," he said, " there was up to about three
hours ago ; Bosche has fairly plastered us with 5-9
and whizz-bangs. These suddenly ceased, and, as a
matter of fact, I began fo wonder whether peace
had been declared when your car came bounding up
the road. How the devil did you manage it ?
Yesterday evening the act of putting one's head over
the parapet was enough to draw a few shells ; but
you corne sailing up here in a car."
" This is about the most charming joy-ride I bave
had for many a y, I replied, " but let me intro-
duce myself. I ara Malins, the ONcial Kinemato-
grapher, and my friend here is the Official ' still'
picture man. We are here fo get scenes of the
German retreat, but it seems to me that one cannot
sec Bosche for dust. That is Villers-Carbonel, is if
not ? " I said, pointing up the road in the distance.
" Yes," he replied.
" Right," I said, " we are going there and on our
way back we'll tell you all the news."
With a cheery wave of the hand he bade us adieu,
and we started on our journey.
The once beautiful trees which lined the sides of
the road were torn fo shreds and, in some instances,
were completely eut in half by shell-fire and the
trunks were strewn across the road. These and the
enormous shell-holes made it difficult to proceed
AN UNCANNY ADVENTURE 26i
af all, but, by clambering over the huge tree trunks,
in and out of filthy slime-filled shell-holes, and
nearly tearing oneself to pieces on the barbed wire
intermingled with the broken branches, we managed
at last fo reach the village. Nota sound was tobe
heard. I turned to my companion.
" This is an extraordinary state of affairs, isn't it ?
In case there are any Bosche rearguard patrols,
we'll keep this side of the ruins as much as possible."
The village was practically on the top of a ridge of
hills. I stood under the shadow of some tree-stumps
and gazed around. What a scene of desolation it was.
I got my camera into action and took some excellt'nt
scenes, showing what was once a beautiful main
road : broken trees flung over it in all directions like
so many wisps of straw, and an unimaginable mass
of barbed wire entanglements. Then, swinging my
camera round, I obtained a panoramic view of the
destroyed village. Dotted here and there were the
dead bodies of horses and men : how long they had
lain there Heaven knows !
While examining the ruins of a building which
used to be a bakehouse I received a startling sur-
prise. I was bending down and looking into an
empty oven when, with a rush and a clatter, a fine
black cat sprang at my legs with a frightened,
1Diteous look in its eyes, and mewed in a strange
manner. For a moment I was startled, for the
animal clung to my breeches. The poor creature
looked half-starved. In its frenzy, it might bite or
scratch my leg or hand. Blood-lDOisoning would be
likely to follow. I gently lowered my gloved hand
and caressed its head. With a sort purr it relaxed
its hold of my leg and dropped to the ground.
Feeling more comfortable I unfastened my satchel
and, taking out some biscuits, gave them to the poor
brute. It ravenously ate them up. My second
surprise was to corne. A faint scratching and
262 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
mewing sound came from behind some bread bins in
a corner and, as I looked, the black cat sprang
forward with a biscuit in its mouth in the direction
of the sound. I followed and gently moved the bin
aside. The sight there almost brought tears into my
eyes. Lying upon some old rags and straw were
three tiny kittens. Two were struggling around the
mother cat, mewing piteously and trying to nibble at
the biscuit she had brought. The other was dead.
The mother cat looked up at me with eyes which
were almost human in their expression of thanks.
I took out some lnore biscuits, and breaking them up
in an empty tin I picked up from the floor, I poured
some water from my bottle on fo them, placed it
beside the starving group and, leaving a handful
near the mother cat, I made their retreat as snug as
Making our way again to the main road I stood
by some ruins and looked away in the distance where
the Germans had disappeared. What a difference.
Here were green fields, gorgeous woods, hills, and
dales with winding roads sweeping away out of
sight. It reminded me of the teeling Moses must
have experienced when he looked upon the Promised
Land. Here were no shell-torn fields, no woods
beaten out of all semblance to anything, no earth
upon which thousands of men had poured out their
blood ; but, here in Iront of us, a veritable heaven.
" Corne along," I said, " let's explore. If there are
any Bosches about they'll soon let us know of their
presence. Let's get on to that other ridge; the
Somme river should be there somewhere."
We left the village and cautiously followed the
road down one hill and up the next. The Germans
had disappeared as completely as if the earth had
swallowed them up. Nota soul was tobe seen ; we
might bave been strolling on the Surrey hills !
I gradually reached the brow of the next ridge.
AN UNCANNY ADVENTURE 263
The sight which met my eyes was the most stimulat-
ing one I had ever seen from a picture point of view.
There, in front of us, at a distance of six hundred
yards, was the river Somme---the naine which will
go down to history as the most momentous in this
the bloodiest war the world has ever known.
There if glistened, winding its way north and
south like a silver snake.
" Corne along," I said, "I shall get the first
picture of the Somme," and we raced away down
In calmer moments at home I have admitted that
we were mad. Nobody in their right senses would
bave done such a thing as to rush headlong into
country which might have been thick with enemy
snipers and machine-guns. But the quietness of the
grave reigned--not a rifle-shot disturbed the silence.
Evidence of the German retreat met our gaze as
we ran down the road. On either side were dis-
carded material and, in a quarry on the left, a
German Red Cross sign was stuck up on a post, and
several dug-outs were burning--smoke was pouring
up from below, showing that the Hun was destroying
I was brought to a standstill at the sight of a mass
of wreckage near the river. Smoke was issuing from
it. I looked on my map and saw that it was the
village of Brie ; a small section was this side of the
river, but the main part was on the other side. The
whole place had been completely destroyed, partly,
I ultimately found out, by our gun-fire, and the
remainder burnt or blown up by the Germans.
The river had developed into a swampy marsh ;
in fact it was very difficult to say precisely where
the river and canal finished and the marshes began.
I again got my camera into action and filmed, for
the first rime, the Somme river which was directly in
our line of advance.
264 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
The bridges were blown up ; huge masses of stone
and iron, twisted and torn and flung into the morass
of weeds and rnud and water, forming small dams,
thus diverting the river in all directions. Several
scenes on this historic spot I filmed, then, wishing to
push forward, I attempted fo cross the broken
bridges. By careful rnanoeuvring I managed to cross
the first, then the second, but a large gap blown in
the roadway about forty feet across, through which
the water rushed in a torrent, brought me fo a
standstill, so rcluctantly I had fo retrace my steps.
Except for the sound of rushing water the quiet-
ness was alnaost uncanny--the exciternent of the
chase was over. Then I began to realise our position.
We wcre in a section of ground which the enemy
had occupicd only a few hours belote and had
apparcntly abandoned--vanished into rhin air ! We
were af least two kilometres in frozt of our infantry,
in fact we had, of our own accord--keen on obtaining
live scenes for the people af homeconstituted our-
selves an advance patrol, armed, not with machine-
guns, swords, or lances, but with carneras. There
was every possibility of our being taken for Germans
ourselves by our men from a distance; the real
advance guard coming up would undoubtedly open
tire and enquire into credentials afterwards. The
ruins across the bridge rnight hide enerny rifles;
they rnight open tire any moment. I explained the
situation to my companion, who had also pre-
sumably reached a decision very similar to my own,
which was to return to the village of Villers-Carbonel
as quickly and as carefully as possible.
Keeping to the side of the road we trudged back,
and half-way up the hill we tan into one of the things
I expected--an advance party. An officer carne
forward and said in astonished tones :
" Where the devil have you fellows corne frorn ? "
" We've been getting photographs of the German
AN UNCANNY ADVENTURE 265
retreat," I replied. " We're the official photo-
graphers and bave been half-way across the Somme,
but owing to the bridge being blown up we bave
tome back. The Germans seem to have vanished
entirely, not a sign ol one about anywhere."
"Well, I'm ," he said, "this is the Iunniest
thing l've ever known. Will our advance patrols
constitute the oflïcial photographers for the future ?
If so, it will save us any amount of trouble."
" Well ? " I said, " you can go on--devil a Bosche
is over there anyway."
" Well," he said, " these troops I am taking down
will be the first across the Somme."
" Right," I said, seeing immediately the scoop it
would be Ior my film. " I will tome back and tihn
your men going over ; it will make a unique picture."
With that we retraced our steps, and laughing and
chatting about our adventure, we once again reached
the Somme river.
I fixed up my camera, and, when all was ready, a
rough bridge was hastily made of several planks
lashed together to bridge gaps in the Iallen stone-
work, and I filmed the first troops to cross the Somme
during the great German retreat.
The light was now Iailing, so, packing up my
apparatus, and waving farewells to the C.O., I turned
back again. B--joined me ; the day had been a
great one Ior us, and we mutually agreed that it was
a fitting sequel to the first British battle that had
ever been filmed which I took at Beaumont Hamel
on July Ist, 1916.
Weary in body, but very much alive mentally, we
returned via Villers-Carbonel to our car.
On my way back I wondered how the car and her
kittens were getting on.
The black cat had certainly brought me luck.
THE GERMANS IN RETREAT
The Enemy Destroy Everything as They Go--Clearing Away the
Débris of the ]3attlefield--And Repairing the Damage Done by
the Huns--An Enormous Mine Crater--A Reception by French
Peasants--" Les Anglais I Les Anglais I " Stuck on the Road
O keep in touch with all the happenings on
that section of the front for which I was
responsible, and to obtain a comprehensive
record of events, it was necessary to keep very
wide awake. Movements, definite and indefinite,
were taking place in scores of different places at the
same moment. To keep in touch with the enemy,
to work with out Iorward patrols, fo enter upon the
heels of our advance guard into the evacuated
villages--and, if possible, to get there first and film
their trimnphal entry, film out advance inIantry
and guns taking up new positions, the engineers at
work remaking the roads, building new bridges over
the Somme, laying down new railways and repairing
old ones--the hundred and one different organisa-
tions that were working and straining every muscle
and ncrve for the common cause. Only the favoured
few have the relnotest idea of the enormous amount
of work to be done under such conditions.
The road (which was No Man's Land yesterday
morning) to the village of Villers-Carbonel was now
swarming with men clearing away the accumulated
dbris of the battlefield. Tree trunks vere moved
off the road, shell-holes were being filled up with
bricks and branches, trenches, which crossed the
THE GERMANS IN RETREAT 267
road, were being filled in, a Tank trap at the
entrance to the village, the shape of a broad, deep
ditch, about thirty by twenty feet wide by fifteen
feet deep, was being loaded with tree trunks and
earth. I filmed these scenes ; then hurried as fast
as possible in the direction of Brie to cover the
advanced work on the Somme, and then fo cross to
the other side and get in touch with our cavalry
What an extraordinary change in the place!
Yesterday a ghostly silence reigned ; now men and
material and transport were swarming everywhere.
I reached the river. The engineers had thrown up
light, temporary bridgeshsix in all. Huge iron
girders had arrived from back behind; they had
been made in readiness for " The Day." Our H.Q.
had known that the Germans in their inevitable
retreat would destroy the bridges, so, to save rime,
duplicates were built in sections, ready to throw
across the gap.
I managed fo arrive in rime to film several
squadrons of the Duke of Lancaster's cavalry
hurrying forward to harass the enemy. Cclist
patrols were making their way over. I hurried as
fast as possible through the ruins of Brie and on fo
the ridge beyond. In the distance I watched our
cavalry deploying in extended order and advance
towards a wood to clear it of the enemy rearguards.
Motor-cyclists, with their machine-guns, were dash-
ing up the hill anxious fo get into contact with the
flying enemy. I filmed many scenes in this section.
I looked along the road which was the main one
into St. Quentin ; if stretched away as far as the eye
could sec. The condition is certainly excellent, I
thought. There would be a greater possibility of
obtaining exciting scenes if it were possible fo
proceed in my car ; the only question was whether
the temporary bridges across the Somme were
268 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
capable of sustaining the weight. The possibility of
getting into villages just evacuated by the Germans
spurred me on, so retracing my steps, I reached the
" Do you think the bridge will take the weight of
my car ? '" I asked an officer in charge of engineers.
" What is it ? "
" Daimler," I replied.
" Well," he said, " there is a risk, of course, but
our G.S. wagons have been across and also the
artillery, so they may take your bus--if you don't
bounce lier in crossing."
" Right-o ! " I said. " I will get it down. Hurry-
ing across I had just reached the last bridge when,
wih a sudden snap, one of the main beams gave. way.
AI1 traffic was, of course, stopped, and englneers
quickly got to vork replacing the broken girder.
" It will be af least another hour, sir," said a
sergeant in answer fo my enquiry. So there was
nothing for if but fo curb my impatience and wait,
and I stood my apparatus down and watched the
At that moment a car came fo a standstill along-
" What's wrong ? " called out one of the occu-
" Broken bridge," I said. " I'm waiting fo cross
with my car fo get films of the villages and the
" That's good," said the speaker, a captain. "I
ara going up fo hem as well. Intelligence I heard
from our airmen this morning that they saw civilians
in one or two villages a few miles out--so I'm off fo
investigate. Would you tare to tome ? We shall be
the first there."
" Yes, rather," I replied. " It will be a fine scoop
for me fo film the first meeting of British troops in
the liberated villages. I will follow in my car."
THE GERMANS IN RETREAT 269
The bridge was again complete, so, dumping my
camera aboard, I followed in the wake of the
captain. Up the hill »ve dashed and spun along the
road af the top, passing beyond the outskirts of Brie.
We were now beyond the extreme limit of the
shelling which we had subjected the Germans to
during their months of occupation.
I was now beginning to see the sights and view the
atrocious system and regularity of wilful destruction
which had obviously been planned monlhs before by
the Huns to carry out Hindenburg's orders and make
the whole land a desert. Not a tree was standing;
whole orchards were hewn down; cvery fruit tree
and bush was destroyed ; hedges were cut af the
base as if with a razor; even flose surround-
ing cemeteries were treated in he saine vay.
Agricultural implements vere smashed. Mons en
Chaussé was the first village we entered; every
house was a blackened smoking ruin, and whcre the
fiends had hot done their work with tire they had
brought dynamite fo their aid; whole blocks of
buildings had been blown into the air; there was
not sufficient cover for a dog.
The car suddenly came to a standstill ; my driver
jammed on his brake and I hurfied forward. There,
at the middle of the village cross-roads was another
enormous mine-crater--one hundred feet across by
about sixty feet deep. It was quite impassable, but
the sight which astounded me was to see about
twenty old women and children running up the road
the other side of the crater shouting and waving
their arms with joy. " Les Anglais ! Les Anglais ! "
they yelled. I got my camera into position and
filmed the captain and his compamons as they
clambered round the jagged lip of the crater and
were embraced by the excited people. For the first
time since their captivity by the Germans they had
seen " les Anglais." Liberators and captives met !
270 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
Several scenes I filmed of the enormous crater and
of lhe cut-down fruit trees. Not a single tree, old or
young, xvas left standing. To blow up roads, and
hew down telegraph poles was war, and such
measures are justified ; but fo destroy every tree or
bush that could possibly bear fruit, wilfully fo smash
up agricultural implements ; to shoot a dog and rie
a label to its poor body wrilten in English :
" Tommies, don't forger to put this in
your next communique--that we killed one
dog. (Signed) THE HuIs."
To crucify a cat upon a door and stick a cigar in ifs
mouth, to blow up and poison wells, to desecrate
graves, lo smash open vaults and rob the corpses
which lay there, and then fo kick the bones in all
directions and use the cofflns as cess-pools--these
things I bave seen with my own eyes. Is this war ?
It is the work of savages, ghouls, fiends.
I wondered where these people had corne from and
where they had been as the whole village xvas burnt
oui. I enquired and found lhat the Germans, two
days before, had cleared the village of its popula-
tion and distributed them in villages further back,
and had then set tire to the place, leaving nolhing
but a desert behind, and taking wilh lhem all lhe
men who could work and many girls in lheir teens to
whal fate one may guess.
These few villagers had wandered back during the
day to gaze upon the wreckage of their homes and
arrived just in rime to meet us al the crater.
" We will get along," said my companion. "I
want to visit Bovincourt and Vraignes before night-
fall, though I ara afraid we shall nol do it. By
making a detour round these ruins I believe we shail
strike the main road further down."
I followed him through the ruins and, after
THE GERMANS IN RETREAT 271
bouncing over innumerable bricks and beams, we
reached the main road. We passed through Estrées-
en-Chaussée. One large barn was only standing;
everything was as quiet as the grave; columns of
smoke were still rising from tlle ruins.
Another iamming on of brakes brought us to a
standstill at a cross-roads; another huge tnine-
crater was in Iront of us and it was most difficult fo
see until we were well upon it. There was nothing
fo do but fo take to the fields---our road was at
right angles to the one we were traversing.
I examined the ground, it was very soit, and the
newly scattered earth and clay from the mine ruade
it much worse.
" If we get stuck," I thought, " there is nobody
about to help us out." The captain tried and got
I yelled out that I would follow ; they disappeared
in the direction of Bovincourt. Backing my car to
get a good start I let it go over the edge of the road
into the field. It was like going through pu.dd!ng.
The near wheels roared round without gnpplng.
Then it happened! We were stuck! A fine pre-
dicament, I thought, with prowling enemy patrols
about and no rifle.
" All shoulders to the wheel," I said. By digging,
and jamming wood, sacking and strav under the
wheels we managed, airer three-quarters of an hour,
to get it out. Jove ! what a rime it was ! And so on
the road again.
" We will get into Bovincourt," I said. " Let ber
go ; I may meet the others."
The feeling was uncanny and my position
strange, for all I knew Bosches were all around me
(and later on this proved to be the case).
Night was falling, and ere I reached the village it
was quite impossible to take any scenes.
At the entrance to the village I ran into several
272 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
people who crowded round the car, crying and
laughing in their relief ai seeing the British arrive.
Old men and women who could barely more hobbled
forward to shake hands, with tears in their eyes.
They clambcred in and around the car, and it was
only by maldng them understand that I would
return on the following day that they allowed the car
to proceed. The sight was wonderful and I wish I
were able to dcscribe it better.
[ could nol find the other car, so, assuming it had
gone back, I decided to return as far as Brie and stay
lhe night. As I was leaving the village a bursl of
machine-gun tire rang out close by followed by
" Lct her go," I said to my chauffeur. " I ara hot
ai all anxious to get pipped oui here. My films must
hot Iall into enemy hands."
The car shot up the road like a streak ; the mine-
crater was abead and the possibility of getting stuck
again whilst crossing ruade me feel anylhing but
easy. Full tilt, I told my driver, we must trust
speed to get across. On went the lower gear; a
right-hand twist of lhe wheel and we were on the
field ; lhe speed gradually grew less, the back wheels
buzzed round but still gripped a little.
" Keep her goiug ai all costs," I yelled, " if the car
sticks here it vill have to be left." To lighten her a
little I jumped out and pushed up behind for all I
vas worth. Mud was flying in all directions; we
vere nearly across; another twenty yards. With
a final roll and screech she bounded off on
road. I jumped aboard again and up the road we
shot towards Mons. If the Hun patrols had been
anywhere near lhey must have thought a battalion of
Tanks were on their track, for lhe noise my old
" bus " made getting across that field was positively
deafening. On I vent through Mons, into the ruins
of its bouses, still glowing red and, in some places,
THE GERIIANS IN RETREAT 273
flames were licking around the poor skeletons of its
once prosperous farms.
One more mine-crater to negotiate; then all
would be plain sailing. It was now quite dark. I
dared not use lights, not,even side lamps, and going
was decidedly slow and risky in consequence. I sat
in the bonnet of the car and, peering ahead, called
out the direction. Shortly a lightish mass loomed up
only a few yards distant.
" Stop ! " I yelled.
On went the brakes, and only iust in time. We
came fo a standstill on the outer lip of a huge crater.
Another two yards and I should have been trying
to emulate the antics of a " tank " in sliding dovn
a crater and crawling up the other side. Iii my case
the sliding down would bave been all right, but
coming up the other side vould bave been on the lap
of the gods. A hundred men with ropes and myself--
vell, but that's another story.
" Back the car to give ita good run," I said, " and
let us lighten it as much as possible," and soon all
" I will go ahead and put my handkerchief over
my electric light ; we must risk being seen--you head
direct for the glow."
I went into the muddy fields.
"Let her go," I shouted. With a whir and a grind
I could tell it had started. I stood still. It was coming
nearer. Ye gods! what a row. Then, suddenly, the
engines stopped and dead silence reigned.
" It's stuck, sir," came a voice from the darkness.
I went to the car and switched my lamp on to the
near wheels. The car was stuck right up to the axel.
" We shall never get out of this unaided," I said.
" Put all the stuff back inside and get the hood up ;
ve shall bave to sleep here to-night.
Then, to add to the discomfiture of the situation,
it began to rain, and rain like fury, and in a few
274 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
minutes I was wet through to the skin. The hood
leaked badly and had convenient holes in alignment
fo one's body, whether you were sitting lengthways or
otherwise inside. I had resigned myself for a dismal
night out. Two hours had passed ,Then I heard the
clatter of hoofs coming towards me in the distance
and, by the direction of the sound, I could tell hey
were our men. I tumbled out and tan as fast as
possible to the other side of the crater and reached
there just as the horsemen arrived.
" Hullo ! " I shouted.
" Hulloa ] " came the reply, " who is it ? "
"I ara badly stuck, or rather my car is---in the
mud in the ficld here. Can you hitch two or three of
your horses on and hclp me out on fo the road ? "
" Certainly, if we can, sir."
"I will guide you with my lamp--by the way,
vhere are you going ? " I said.
" We are trying fo get into touch with Ihe Bosche. ''
"I have been in Bovincourt," I said, "but there
are none there, though I heard a lot of rifle-fire just
outside the village."
We arrived at the car and, quickly hitching on a
rope, the engine was started up and, with a heave
and a screech, it moved forward and was eventually
dragged on to the road.
"Thank Heaven," I thought. Then, thanking the
men, and warning them of the other delightful mine
crater further down, I started off again, sitting on
As I neared Brie I switched on my lamp as a head-
light and got held up by two sentries with their
bayonets at the ready. They did not understand
why a motor-car should be coming back apparently
from the German lines, and their attitude was
decidedly unfriendly till I assured them I was not a
German, but only the Official Kinematographer out
THE STORY OF AN "ARMOURED CAR" ABOUT WHICH
I COULD A TALE UNFOLD
Possibilities--Food for Famished Villagers--Meeting the Mayoress
of 13ovincourt--Who l:h'esides ai a Wonderful Impromptu
Ceremony--A Scrap Outside Vraignes--A Church Full of
Refugees--A Truc Pal--A Meal with the Mayor oi I3ierne.
O keep hard upon the heels of the retreating
Germans and so obtain scenes, the char-
acier of which had never been presented
before to the British public, was my chief aim.
I had no lime for sleep. I arrived ai my base wet
through, the rain had continued throughout the
whole of my return j ourney. Changing into dry
underwear, I refilled my exposed spool-boxes and
packed up a good surplus supply, sufficient to last
for several days, then packing my knapsack with the
usual rations, bully and bread, condensed rnilk and
slabs of chocolate, I was ready to start out once more.
My clothes had by this rime dried. Daylight was
breaking, the car arrived and, with all kit aboard,
I started out again for the Somme, wondering what
the day would bring Iorth.
I stopped on the way to pick up the "still" photo-
" Where for to-day ? " he asked.
" Bovincourt and Vraignes," I replied, " and, if
possible, one or tvo of the villages near by. I must
get into thern before out troops, so as to be able to
film their entry. Does that suggest possibilities to
you ? " I said, with a smile, knowing that he, like
z76 HOW I FILIIED THE WAR
myself, would go through anything fo obtain
" Possibilities," he said, " don't, you make my
mouth water. How about food ? Shall we take
some fo the villages ? "
" Excellent idea," I said.
We stopped on the way and purchased a good
.supply of white bread and French sausages, think-
mg that these two commodities would be most
Through Foucacourt Estrées and Villers-Carbonel
the roads were lined with troops, guns, and trans-
port of every description, ail making their way
forward. Engineers were hard at work on the roads ;
shell-holes were filled in and road trenches bridged.
Work was being pushed Iorward with an energy and
skill which reflected great credit upon those in
charge; traffic controls were at cross roads which
forty-eight hours beIore had been " No Man's Land."
Hun signboards were taken down and Iamiliar
British names took their place. The sight was
wonderful. En route I stopped and filmed various
scenes. Arriving again af Brie on the Somme the
change in affairs was astounding. The place was
alive with men ; if was a veritable hive of industry ;
new lines were being laid to replace the torn and
twisted rails leIt by the Germans ; bridges were being
strengthened, roads on both sides were widened, and,
to make it possible fo continue the work throughout
the night, a searchlight was being mounted upon a
Crossing the bridges of Brie we mounted the hill
and were once again upon the ridge. Great gaps had
been made by out men in the huge line of barbed
wire entanglements which the Huns had spent
months of laboious work to construct. It stretched
away over hill and dale on both sides as far as the
eye could sec.
AN " ARMOURED CAR " 277
To pick up further information I stopped a
cyclist officer coming from the direction of Mons.
" Any news ? " I enquired. " Where is Bosche ? "
" We were in touch with his rearguards all last
night," he said. " They have ruade several strong
points round the villages o5 Vraignes, Haucourt, and
Bierne. They were scouting around Vraignes, but
we quickly put the wind up them," he said, with a
smile. " Several villages were seen burning during
the night and the enemy put a little shrapnel around
some patrols near Pouilly, but no damage was donc."
" Vraignes, of course, is quite clear ? "
" Yes, as far as we know. Our patrols reported if
clear late last evening, but possibly Bosche returned
during the night. We captured three Bosches and
they have an extraordinary tale of seeing two
armoured cars yesterday evening near Bovincourt,
and they insist upon it although I ara quite aware
there were none af all near there. They say tbat
about six o'clock they were on the outskirts of
Bovincourt when two armoured cars came in sight.
Not having a machine-gun with them they decided
to hide and so took cover in the ruins of a house.
Later on they say they was only one car leave in the
direction of the main road. "l'hat's their talc and
they seem quite serious about it."
" Well," I said, with a grin, " do you think this
car of mine would look like an armoured car at a
distance ? "
" Well, yes, possibly, in a failing light. Why ? "
" Well, this must be one of your excellent
prisoner's so-called armoured cars, because I was in
Bovincourt with of the Corps Intelligence,
hence the two cars. I missed him through getting
stuck in the mud, and entered Bovincourt about
six o'clock and left by myself later as a skirmish was
taking place somewhere near by, and not being
arrned with anything more dangerous than a camera,
278 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
I decided to quit. I ara much obliged to the Bosche
for taking his bus of mine for an armoured
With a laugh and a cheery adieu the officer bade
me good luck and pedalled off.
I could not help hinking that I had had a lucky
On again, and reaching the first mine, the scene of
the previous night's adventure, I put the car to the
field at a rush and by some extraordinary means go
I was jus entering the village when, wffh a shriek
and a crash, a shell burst near the church. I sopped
the car and, under cover of the ruins, reached a
distance of about hree lmndred yards from where it
fell. If any more were coming over I intended, if
possible, to film them bursing.
Carefully taking cover behind a wall, I fitted up
my camera. Another shell came hurtling over and
dropped and burst quit.e near the prevous spot.
Showers of bricks flew in all directions, liberally
splattering the wall behind which I was concealed.
The débris cleared, up went my camera, and, standing
by the handle, I awaited the next.
It came soon enough, I heard the shriek nearer and
nearer. I turned the handle and put my head close
behind the camera with my eye to the view-finder.
Crash came the shell, and, with a terrific report, it
exploded. The whole side of a house disappeared,
and bricks, wood, and metal flew in all directions.
I continued to turn when, with an ugly little
whistle, a small piece of something struck my view-
finder and another my tripod. Luckily nothing
touched the lens. I awaited the next. It was
longer this rime, but it came, and nearer to me than
the previous one. I was satisfied. I thought if they
elevated another fifty yards I might get a much too
close view of a shell-burst, so scrambled aboard the
AN "ARMOURED CAR" 279
car, and ruade a detour round the mine on to the
" Those scenes ought to be very fine," I said.
" It's one of those lucky chances where one has fo
take the risk of obtaining a hrilling scene."
By the balls of white smoke I could sec that
shrapnel was bursting in the near distance.
" That's near Pouilly," I said. " We are turning
up on the left, let's hope the Huns don't plaster us
Reaching the village of Bovincourt, the villagers
were there eagerly awaiting our arrival. They again
crowded around the car, and it was with difficulty
that I persuaded them to let us pass into the village.
Cheering, shouing, and laughing they followed close
behind. I stopped the car and asked an old man
who, by his ribbons, had been through the 187o war :
" Where is the Mayor ? "
" There is no Mayor, monsieur, but a mayoress,
and she is thcre," pointing to a buxom French
peasant woman about fifty years of age.
I went up to ber and explained in my best French
that I had brought bread and sausages for the people,
would she share them out ?
" Oui, oui, monsieur."
" I would like you to do it here, I will then take
a kinematograph film of the proceeding, so that the
people in England can sec it."
" Ah, monsieur, i is the firs white bread and
good French sausage we bave seen since the Bosches
came. They took everything from us, everything,
and if it had not been for the American relief we
should have starved. They are brutes, pig-brutes,
monsieur, they kill everything." And, with tears
in her eyes, she told me how the Huns shot her
beautiful dog because, in its j oyfulness, it used to
play with and bark at the children. " They did not
like being disturbed, monsieur, so they shot him--
280 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
poor Jacques! They have not left one single
animal ; everything has gone. Mon Dieu, but they
shall surfer ! "
I changed the painful subject by saying that now
the Brffish had driven back the Bosche everything
would be quite all right. With a wan smile she
I set up my camera, and telling my man fo hand
over the food, the Mayoress shared if out. One
sausage and a piece of white bread to each person,
men, women, and children. The j oy on their faces
was wonderful to behold. As they received their
share they ran off to the shelter of some ruins, or
up into the church, to cook their wonderful gifts.
I filmed the scene, and I shall never forger it.
The last of the batch had disappeared when up
the road came hobbling a woman whose age I should
say was somewhere about forty-five. I could see
she was on the point of exhaustion. She had a huge
bundle upon her back and a child in her arms,
another about seven years c.linging to ber skirts.
They halted outside the rums of a cottage, the
woman dropped ber bundle, and crouching down
upon it clung convulsively to the babe in ber arms
and burst into tears.
I went up to her and gently asked ber the cause.
" This, monsieur, was my bouse. Two days past
the Germans drove me away with my children. My
husband bas already been killed at the front. They
drove me away, and I corne back to-day and now my
home, all that I had in the world, monsieur, is gone.
They bave burnt it. What can I do, monsieur ?
And we are starving."
The babe in her arms began fo send forth a thin
lifeless wail. I helped the poor woman to ber feet
and told her to go fo the church, and that I would
bring her bundle and some food for ber.
God above, vhat despair ! The grim track of war
AN " ARMOURED CAR" 281
in all its damnable nakedness was epitomised in this
little French hamlet. Houses burnt, horses taken
away, agricultural implements wilfully smashed,
fruit trees and bushes cut down, even the hedges
around their little gardens, their cemetery violated
and the remains of their dead strewn to the four
winds of heaven. Their wells polluted with garbage
.and filth; in some cases deliberately poisoned,
n others totally destroyed by dynamite. Their
churches used as stables for horses and for drunken
orgies. Ail the younger men deported, and the
prettiest of the girls. In some cases their clothes
had been forcibly, taken away from them and sacks
had been given n exchange to clothe thenselves
with. They were robbed of every penny they
But when the wonderful sound of the British guns
and the tramp of our soldiers crept nearer and
nearer, terrifying, relentless, and irresistible, the
Germans left, fleeing with their ill-gotten spoil
like demons of darkness before the angels of light,
leaving in their trail the picture I have unfolded to
Wishing fo push on further I scouted round the
outskirts of the village. In a wood a short distance
away it was evidently that our patrols were in contact
with the Huns. Volley airer volley of rifle-fire rang
out, and now and then a burst from the machine-guns.
A horseman was heading straight for me. Was he
British or Hun ? In a few minutes I could see he was
one of our men--evidently a dispatcll-rider. He
swept down into a hollow, then up the road into the
village. He was riding hard; his horse stumbled,
but by a great effort the rider recovered himself. He
dashed past me and, clattering over the fallen masonry,
disappeared from sight.
I looked around. Nota sign of life anywhere, so I
decided fo make for Vraignes about a kilometre
282 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
distant south-east of Bovincourt. I had previously
heard from one of the villagers that there were about
one thousand people left there.
Strapping my camera on my back I tramped away,
my man following in the rear. The" still "man, who
had left me after feeding the villagers, had been
prowling around getting pictures. Accidentally he
ran into me, so together we trekked off.
Taking advantage of every bit of cover possible, as
German snipers were none too careful as to where
they put their bullets, we eventually reached the
outskirts of Vraignes. Not a sign of Germans, but
crowds of civilians. Things here were the saine as af
Bovincourt, but a few more houses were left stand-
ing owing fo the tire hOt completely doing its work.
The people were in the saine state. We had just got
into the village, and near the Mairie, when a commo-
tion round the corner by the church attracted my
atention. The men and women who had crowded
around us shouting with joy, turned and rushed up
" Vive les Anglais ! Vive les Anglais ! " The cry
was taken.up by every one. Hands and handkerchiefs
were wavmg in all directions. " Vive les Anglais!
Vive les Anglais ! "
" Our boys are there," I said.
My camera was up and turned on fo the corner
where the crowd stood and, at that moment, a troop
of out cyclists entered, riding very slowly through
the exultant people--the first British troops to enter
the village. I turned the handle. The scene was
inspiring. Cheer after cheer rent the air. Old men
and women were crying with j oy. Others were
holding their babies up to kiss our boys. Children
were clinging and hugging around their legs, until if
was impossible for them to proceed further. The
order was given by the officer in charge to halt.
The men tumbled off their machines, the people
AN " ARMOURED CAR " 283
surged round them. To say the men were em-
barrassed would be fo put if mildly. They were
absolutely overcome. I filmed them with the crowd
around. And then an order was given to take up
billets. Patrols were thrown out, sentries posted,
the men parked their cycles and rested.
On a large double door of a barn the Huns had
gone fo the trouble of painting in huge letters the
hackneyed phrase " Gott strafe England," and
immediately our men saw it one of them, with a
piece of chalk, improved upon if.
They gathered the children round them and
formed a group beneath the letters with German
trophies upon their heads ; I filmed them there, one
of the happiest groups possible to conceive.
I left them and went to find the officer in charge,
and asked him for the latest news from other
" I couldn't say," he replied, " but my men were
well in touch with them early this morning, but you
seem to know more about it here than anyone else.
When on earth did you arrive in the village ? "
" Just before you," I replied. "I came from
" Well, you have got some job. I certainly didn't
expect to find anyone so harmless as a photographer
awaiting our arrival."
The conversation was abruptly stopped by a warn-
ing shout from one of the observers on a house-Eop
" Germans, sir."
The officer and I rushed to a gap in the buildings
and looked through our glasses, and there, on a
small ridge a thousand yards off, a body of horsemen
were seen approaching, riding hard, as if their very
lives depended upon it.
An order was immediately given 4o the machine-
gun company who had taken up a most advan-
284 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
tageous position and one that commanded most of
the country near by.
I placed my camera in such a position by the side
of a wall that I could see all that was taking place
and if seen myself I could easily pull it under cover.
Nearer and nearer they came. They were too far
away to pbotograph. Excitement was intense.
Were they coming into the village ? If they did, I
thought, in all conscience they would get a warm
reception, knowing as I did the arrangements for its
defence. My eyes were fixed upon them.
The officer close by was on the point of giving the
order to tire when a burst of machine-gun tire rang
out in the distance.
" Our cavalry have got them," said the officer.
" We have some strong posts just here, Bosche bas
fairly run into them. Look! They bave their
And they had, for they were running back for all
they were worth in the direction of Bierne.
Our men were positively disappointed, and I tan
honestly say I was myself, for the possibilities of a
wonderful scene had disappeared.
The tension relaxed ; most of the men returned
to their billets and quickly made themselves at home
with the people.
Noticing people going into church, I went up the
bill to investigate. As I entered the outer gare an
officer clattered up on horseback, swung himself off
and walked up to me.
" Hullo," he said, "I am Ehe doctor. Anything
doing here ? "
" Well," I said, " there might bave been just now."
I related the happenings of the last ten minutes.
" Have you been to Bovincourt ? "
" Yes, but the poor devils are too ill for me.
I haven't sufficient stuff with me to go round."
Another officer tan up, "I say, Doctor, for
AN "ARMOURED CAR " 285
Heaven's sake look in the church here. The place is
packed and hall of them are ill, God knows what
with, and one or two are dead."
" Well, I will look, but I can do nothing until this
evening. I have no stuff with me."
We went into the church. Heavens! what a
sight met our eyes; the atmosphere was choking.
If was like a charnel-house. Crowds of old men,
women, and children of all ages were crowded
together with their belongings. They had been
evacuated from dozens of other villages by the Huns.
Women were hugging their children fo them. In
one corner an old woman was bathing the head of a
child with an old stocking dipped in water. The
child, I could see, was in a high fever. There must
have been af least three hundred people lying about
in all directions, wheezing and coughing, moaning
The doctor spoke fo one old woman, who had
hobbled forward and sank down near a pillar. The
doctor bent down and told her that he would bring
medicine in the evening. Everybody there seemed
to hear that magie word, and scrambled forward
begging for medicine for themselves, but mostly
for the children. The scene xvas pitiable in the
I asked one women where they had tome from.
She told me from many villages. The Bosche had
turned them all out of their homes, then burnt their
houses and their belongings. They had walked miles
exposed to the freezing cold rains and winds, they
had been packed into this church like a lot of sheep
without covering, without rires. She was begging
for medicine for her three-months-old babe.
" She will die, moniseur, she will die ! " And the
poor woman burst into a flood of tears.
I calmed ber as much as possible by telling her
that everything would be done for them without
286 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
delay, and that medicine, food, and comfort would
be given them.
I turned and left the building, for the air was
nearly choking me. Outside I met the doctor, who
was arranging to send a cyclist back for an ambulance.
"They cannot be treated here, it's impossible.
l've never seen such a sight."
I left him and went into the bouse where the
cyclist C.O. had marie his temporary headquarters.
"I want to get on further, lS there any other
village near by ? "
" Yes," he said, "there is Haucourt, but I
believe Bosche is in part of it, or he was this morning.
It's about two kilos from here. I shouldn't go if I
were you nnless you get further information ; I ara
expecting another patrol in from there. If you
ca.re to wait a few minutes you may learn some-
I agreed to wait, the " still " man came in just
then, and he agreed to corne with me.
" We may as well risk it," I said. " I will take my
old bus into the place. If Bosche sees it he may
mistake it again for an armoured car."
So, packing the cameras aboard, I waited for the
expe.cted patrol to turn up. Half an hour passed ;
no slgn. Daylight was waning.
" I ara going on," I said to the " still " man, " we
cannot wait for the patrol, there's hot rime. Will
you corne ? "
" Yes," he said.
I told the C.O. of my intention.
" It's thundering risky," he said. " You're going
into new ground again."
I left Vraignes and advanced at a cautious pace
in the direction of Haucourt. Rifle-fire was pro-
ceeding in the distance, which I judged was the
other side of the village. A destroyed sugar refinery
on the left was still smoking. It had been blon up
AN " ARMOURED CAR" 287
by the Huns and the mass of machinery was flung
and twisted about in all directions.
In the village I stopped the car close by a crucifix,
which was still standing.
" Turn the car round," I said to my driver, " and
keep the engine going, we may bave fo boit for it."
Then, shouldering the camera, I ruade my way up
the main street. The place was a mass of smoking
ruins; absolutely nothing was left. A huge mine
had been blown up af a cross-road ; all trees and
bushes had been cut down. A piano, curiously
enough, was lying in the roadway ; the front had
been smashed, and no doubt all the wires were
hacked through by some sharp instrument, and the
keys had all been broken. The Huns had evidently
tried fo take if away with their other loot, but
finding it too heavy for quick transport had aban-
doned, then wilfully destroyed if fo prevent ifs being
used by others.
The place was as silent as the grave. I filmed a
few scenes which appealed fo me, and was on the
more towards the further end of the road when two
of our cyclists suddenly came into view. I hurried
up to them.
" Any news ? " I asked. " Where's Bosche ? "
The men were half dead with fatigue. Their legs
were caked inches thick in mud, and it was only by
a tremendous effort that they were able to lift their
feet as they walked. They were pushing their
cycles; the mud was caked thick between the
wheels and the mudguards forming in itself a brake
on the tyres. Fagged out as they obviously were
they tried to smile at the reply one made.
" Yes, the Bosche is about here outside the
village," said one. " We had a small strong point
last night over there," pointing in the distance,
" myself and two pals. We were sitting in the hole
smoking when nine Bosches jumped in on us. Well,
288 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
sir, they managed to send my pal West, but that's
all. Then we started and six Fritzes are lying out
there now. The other three escaped. It ruade my
blood boil, sir, when they did in my pal. I'm going
to make a wooden cross, and then bury him. We
had becn together for a long time, sir, and--well--I
miss my pal, but we got six for him and more fo
come, sir, more fo come before we've finished."
I thanked the man and sympathised with him
over his loss and complimented him on his fight.
" But ifs not enough yet, sir, not enough."
The two then struggled away, bent on their errand
of making a cross for a pal. And as they disappeared
among the ruins I wondered how many men in the
world could boast of such a truc friend. Very few,
worse luck !
The sharp crack of a rifle quickly brought me
back to earth. A bullet struck the wall close by.
I dived under cover of some bricks dragging my
camera after me. Another came over seeming to
strike the spot I had just vacated. I decided to
keep the ruins between myself and the gentle Bosche.
Scenes were very scarce, no marrer where one looked
it was just ruins, ruins, ruins.
I wandered on until I came to a long black build-
ing, evidently put up by the Huns. It was quite
intact, which to me seemed suspicious. It might
hide a German sniper. I put my camera behind a
wall then quietly edged near the building. Not a
sound was audible. In case anyone was there I
thought of a little ruse. The door vas close to me
and it opened outwards, so picking up a stone I
flung it over the roof, intending it to fall the other
end and so create a diversion. With a sudden pull I
opened the door alongside me, but with no result.
I peered round the door; nobody there. I entered
and found the building had been used as a stable.
AN "ARMOURED CAR" 289
Straw was lying all over the place; feed-bags had
been hastily thrown down, halters were dotted here
and there, and a Uhlan lance was lying on the
ground., which, needless to say, I retained as a
souvemr. The rearguard of the enemy had evidently
taken shelter there during the previous night and had
made a hasty exit owing to the close proximity of out
Evening was drawing on apace, so I decided to
make my way back to the car. The " still " man
was awaiting my return.
At Bovincourt I met an Intelligence Officer and
told him of my experiences. He seemed highly
amused and thanked me for the information brought.
I told him that wishing to be on the spot if anything
interesting happened during the night or early next
morning I had decided to sleep in my car n the
village. I was going to hunt up a place to cook some
" I will take you somewhere," he said. " There is
the old Mayor of Bierne here. He has been evacuated
by the Bosche. He's an interesting old fellow and
you might have a chat with him. Fie is in a house
close by with his wife. Corne along."
We found the old man in one of the half-dozen
remaining houses left intact by the Huns.
We entered the kitchen and my friend intro-
duced us to Paul Andrew, a tall stately French
fariner of a type one rarely sees. He had dark curly
hair, a shaggy moustache and beard, blue eyes and
sunken cheeks, sallow complexion and a look of
despair upon his face, which seemed to brighten up
on out entrance.
I asked him if his good wife would cook a little
food for us, as we wished to stay the night in the
" Monsieur," he said, " what we have is yours.
God knows it's little enough--the Bosche has taken
290 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
it ail. But whatever monsieur wishes he has only to
ask. Will monsieur sit down ? "
I bade adieu to the officer who had brought us
there, had the car run into the yard, and then
returned to the cosy kitchen, and sat by the tire
whilst the old lady prepared some hot coffee.
" These are more comfortable quarters than we
expected to-night," I said. "I must make a note
of all my scenes taken to-day. Have you a light,
Monsieur Andrew ? "
" Oui, Monsieur, I have only one lamp left and I
bid that as the Bosche took everything that was
ruade of brass or copper, even the door handles."
He brought in the lamp, a small brass one with a
candle stuck in it. I proceeded with my record,
then we suppcd on bread, sardines, and bully, sharing
our white bread with Andrew and his wife. They
had hot seen or tasted such wonderful stuff since the
Bosche occupation, and their eyes sparkled with
pleasure on tasting it again. I had brought copies
of tbe Echo de Paris, Journal, Matin and other
French papers, and these were the first they had
seen for two years. The fariner declared it was like
a man awakening from a long sleep.
" We'll turn in," I said.
Gathering up my coat I opened the door. The
freezing cold seemed to chill me to the bone, and it
was snowing hard. I flashed on my torch and we
found our way to the car. Quickly getting inside, I
unfolded the seats which formed two bunks, and
struggling inside our sleeping-bags we were soon
I awoke with a start. It was pitch dark. I rubbed
the steam from the door window and looked out;
it was still snowing. I had an extraordinary feeling
that something was happening, that some danger
was near. If anybody had been there near the car
I should have seen them; the snow ruade that
AN "ARMOURED CAR" 291
possible. But there was nota sign of movement.
I got out of my sleeping-bag, thinking that if any
prowling Bosche patrol ventured near I should be
able to do something. Nothing happened, and for
quite hall an hour I was on the alert. Several rifle-
shots rang out quite near, then quietness reigned
again, and, as nothing else happened, I wriggled into
my bag again and dozed.
In the .morning I told one of our patrol officers of
" You were right," he said. " Uhlan rearguard
patrols sneaked in near the village, and must have
passed quite close fo your place. My men had some
shots at them and gave chase, but owing to the
confounded snow they got away."
I decided that if I slept there again that night it
would be with a rifle by my side.
BEFORE ST. QUENTIN
The «' Hindcnburg" LineA Diabolical Piece of Vandalism--Brigadier
H.Q. in a CellarA Fight in Mid-airWaiting for the Taking
oi St. QuentinL'Euvoi.
TILL the great German retreat continued.
Village after village fell into our hands;
after toile the enemy vas relentlessly
pursued by our cavalry and cyclist corps. Still the
Germans burnt and devastated everything in their
path although, in some instances, there was evidence
that they were shifted from their lines of defence
with far more force and promptitude than they
imagined we would put up against them in this par-
ticular section. The enemy had arranged his opera-
tions, as usual, by timetable, but he had failed to
take into consideration the character of the ]3ritish
soldier, with the result his schemes had " gone
agley." To save men the German high command
gave orders for a further retirement to their Hinden-
burg defences, a fortified line of such strength as had
never been equalled.
If this line was not impregnable, nothing could be.
It was the last word in defence system and it had
taken something like two years to perfect.
The barbed wire, of a special kind, was formidable
in its mass ; three belts fifty feet deep wound about
it in an inextricable mass in the form of a series of
triangles and other geometric designs. The trenches
themselves were constructional vorks of art ; switch
lines were thrown out as an extra precaution ; in
BEFORE ST. QUENTIN 293
front of the most important strategical positions,
machine-gun posts and strong points abounded in
unlimited quantities. It was the Hun's last and
most powerful line of defence this side of the Franco-
German frontier. This" Hindenburg" line stretched
from a point between Lens and Arras where it joined
the northern trench system, which had been
occupied for the past two years, down to St. Quentin,
passing behind the town at a distance of about rive
kilos, with a switch line in front to take the first
shock of the Allies' blow when it came.
Behind this trench the Huns thought they could
safely test and hold up the Allies' advance. But,
with their wonderful and elaborate system of barbed-
wire defence which they anticipated would keep us
out, they probably forgot one point--it would
certainly keep them in--tightly bolted and barred.
Therefore, under such conditions, it was the side
which had the predominance in guns and munitions
that could smash their way through by sheer weight
of metal, and force a passage through which to pour
their troops, taking section by section by a series
of flanking and encircling movements, threaten their
line of communication, finally cracking up the whole
line and compel a further extensive falling back to
save their armies.
Against the front portion of this line we thrust
ourselves early in Match, 1917, and out massed guns
poured in the most terrible tire the world had ever
known. Lens was practically encircled--the Vimy
ridge was taken by assault, and dozens of villages
captured, resulting in the capture of eighteen
thousand prisoners and over two hundred guns.
Hindenburg threw in his divisions with reckless
extravagance; he knew that if this section gave
way all hope of holding on to Northern France was
gone. Time and again he sent forward his " cannon
fodder " in massed formation--targets which out
294 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
guns could not possibly miss--and they were mown
down in countless numbers ; his losses vere appalling.
In certain places his attacking forces succeeded for
a rime in retaking small sections of ground we had
gained, only tobe driven out by a strong counter-
attack. His losses were terribly disproportionate
to his temporary advantage.
I moved dowll to the extreme right of the British
line ; St. Quentin was the goal upon which I had set
my mind. hl my opinion the taking of that place
by a combined Franco-British offensive with the
triumphant entry of the troops would make a film
second to none. In the first place the preliminary
operations pictorially would differ from all previous
issues of war tilms, and in the second place it would
be the first film actually showing the point of
" liaison " with the French and their subsequent
advance--making if, from ail historical, public, and
sentimental point of viev, a film par excellence.
Therefore in this section of the British line I ruade
I left my H.Q. early in April, 1917. I intended to
live at the line in one of the cellars of a small village
situated near the Bois de Holnon, which had been
I proceeded by the main St. Quentin road, through
Pouilly in±o Caulaincourt. The saine desolation and
wanton destruction was everywhere in e»idence;
but the most diabolical piece of vandalism was
typified by the once beautiful Château of Caulain-
court, which was an avful heap of ruins. The
Château had been blown into the Somme, vith the
object of damming the river, and so flooding the
country-side; partially it succeeded, but our engi-
neers were quickly upon the scene and, soon, the
river vas agaln running its normal course. The
flooded park ruade an excellent watering-place for
horses. The wonderful paintings and tapestries in
BEFORE ST. QUENTIN 295
the library on the Château had beeen destro.yed.
As I wandered among the ruins, filming varlous
scenes of our engineers at work sorting out the
d6bris, I noticed many things which must have been
of inestimable value. Every statue and ornamenta-
tion about the grounds was wilfully smashed to
atoms ; the flower-pots which lined the edges of the
once beautiful floral walks had been deliberately
crushed--in fact a more complete specimen, of
purposeless, wanton destruction if would be im-
possible to find.
I filmed the most interesting sections; then
continued my way through Bouvais on to sec the
General of a Division. This Division was working
near the French left. After a very interesting
conversation this officer recommended me to call
on a Brigadier-General.
" He is stationed at " he said. " I will ring
him up and tell him you are on the way. He will
give you all the map references of the O.P's in the
neighbourhood. Anyway, you can make your own
arrangements, I suppose, about views ? "
" Oh, yes, sir, certainly, so long as I can get very
near to the place."
" Right. You go into all these details with
Thanking him I hurried away. I found the mines
which Bosche had exploded at all cross-roads very
troublesome, and on one occasion, in endeavouring
to cross by way of the field alongside, I got badly
stuck ; so I had to borrow a couple of horses to get
me out on to the road again.
/I duly arrived and reported to Brigadier H.Q.
It was the cellar of a once decent house by the
appearance of the garden. I went down six steps
into a chamber reeking with dampness about six feet
high by ten feet square; a candle was burning in a
bottle on a roughly made table, and, sitting at
296 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
it, was the General closely studying details on a
He looked up as I entered.
" Are you the Kinelna Inan ? " he enquired.
" General told Ine you were colning ; what do
you want ? "
"Well, sir," I said, " I want fo obtain fillns of all
tbe operations in connection with the taking of
St. Quentin ; if you bave an observation-post froln
which I can obtain a good view it will suit Ine
" I aln sure we can fix you up all right. But we
are just going fo bave a Ineal ; sit down and join us.
We can then go into details."
Lunch was served in prilnitive fashion, which was
unavoidable under such conditions--but we fared
sulnptuously, although on a rough plain table with
odds and ends for platters, and boxes and other
makeshifts for chairs.
During the Ineal I went into details with
the General about Iny requirelnents. He quite
understood Iny position and thoroughly appreciated
Iny keen desire fo obtain solnething unique in the
way of filln story.
" The taking of St. Quentin by the Allied troops,
sir, would be one of Iny finest fillns."
" Well," he said, " the French are bolnbarding
the suburbs and other places, so far as dalnage is
concerned, to-day ; our batteries are also giving a
hand. I sliould advise you to go to this spot "--
indicating a position on the Inap. " What do you
think ? " he turned to the Brigade Major. " Will
this do for hiln ? "
" Yes, sir, I should think so."
" Anyway, I can soon see, if you can put Ine on
the road to find if. But a guide would save
" You had better take him," said the General fo
the Brigade Major ; " you
" Right, sir," he said.
know the place quite
So, getting hold of an extra orderly to help carry
my kit, we started off, up through a wood and then
for the first time I viewed St. Quentin.
" We had better spread out here," said my guide.
" Bosche can observe ail movements from the
Cathedral tower, and he doesn't forger to 'strafe'
us,îlthough no harm is ever done."
He is crumping now by ail appearances," I
replied, noticing some crumps bursting about three
hundred yards away.
" Yes, they are ' strafing ' the place we are going
to ! That's cheerful, anyway. We will make a wide
detour ; he's putting shrapnel over now. Look out t
Keep well fo the side of the wood."
We kept under cover until it was necessary to
cross a field to a distant copse.
" That's our O.P. We bave some guns there,
" Hullo, keep down," I said ; " that's a burst of
four." Crash--crash--crash--crash! in quick suc-
cession, the fearful bursts making the ground
" Very pretty," I remarked. "I will get my
camera ready for the next lot."
They came--and I started turning one after the
other ; it was an excellent scene ; but, as the enemy
seemed to.swing his range round slightly, the pieces
were commg much too near to be healthy. So,
hastily packing up, we ruade straight for the copse
on the quarry top.
High shrapnel was now bursting, several pieces
whistling very unpleasantly near.
" Let's get under shelter of the trees," said the
Brigade Major, " the trunks will give us a lot of
298 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
We ruade a run for it, and reached them safely,
and, gently drawing near the outer edge, I was in full
view of St. Quentin.
The Cathedral loomed up with great prominence--
and shrapnel was exploding near the tower.
" That's fo keep the Hun observers down," he
said. " We are hot, of course, shelling the place fo
damage it at ail. Those rires you can see there are of
Bosche making; he is systematically burning the
place as a prelude fo retreat. My Intelligence
officer says that the Palace of Justice and the
theatre are well alight, and airmen declare the town
quite empty ; they flew over if yesterday only about
two hundred feet above the house-tops and they were
not fired at once. Seems fo me they've evacuated
the populace entirely."
" Jove," I said, " the French are letting them
have it over there," pointing in the distance.
" That is, of course, south of the tovn, very
nearly running due east and west--it's an excellent
barrage--and all H.E., too."
I soon got my camera into action and, carefully
concealing the tripod behind a tree trunk or rather
a little fo one side, I began exposing.
The.firing was very heavy. I continued exposing
on vanous sections which gave me the most compre-
hensive idea of barrage tire.
" The French are bang up against the " Hinden-
burg" line there, and it's pretty deep in wireas
you know," said my guide, " but I think they will
manage if all right ; it's only a matter of time.
Hullo ! they are ' strafing ' their confounded guns
again with H.E. Look out! keep down!" And
keep down we did. " Those 59 of brother Fritz's are
hot very kind fo one ; we had better stay for a few
minutes ; he may catch us crossing the field."
Ten minutes went by ; things were a bit quieter,
so, hastily packing up, we doubled back to the road.
BEFORE ST. QUENTIN 299
"I never did like getting near forward gun
positions," I said, " but, curiously enough, my best
view-points compel me on many occasions to fix up
in their vicinity."
We got on to the road without casualties and in
rime to see the H.L.I. forming up to leave at dusk
for the front line, or the series of strong points which
comprised it in this section.
They were having the operation orders read out to
them by their officer in charge. The scenes ruade
very interesting ones for me--the men, alert and
keen to the last degree, stood there in line, listening
intently to the words until the end.
The next morning I had a wire from H.Q. asking
me to take charge of two French journalists for a
day or two; thcy were most anxlous to see the
British troops in action before St. Quentin. Towards
midday they arrived--M. Gustave Babin, of
L'Illustration, Paris--and M. Eugène Tardeau, of the
Echo de Paris. I presented these gentlemen to the
General, who kindly extended every facility to them.
I took them up to the observation post from
which they could look down on St. Quentin.
" It will be a great moment for me," said M. Babin,
" to obtain the first impression of the Allied entry in
For myself the day was quite uneventful, beyond
obtaining extra scenes of the preparatory work of our
artillery. The heavy bombardment was continuing
with unabated fury, the horizon was black with the
smoke of bursting high explosives, huge masses of
shrapnel were showering their leaden messe.ngers of
death upon the enemy. Towards evemng the
weather changed for the worse. It began with a
biting cold sleet, which quickly turned into snow.
That night we slept in an old greenhouse which
was open to the four winds of heaven. The cold was
intense. I rolled myself up tight in my bag and
300 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
drew my waterproof ground-sheet well over my
body. It was a good job I did so for the ShOW was
blowing in through the many fissures and cracks
and settling upon me like fallen leaves in autumn.
The heavy shelling coninued throughout the
night. Several Bosche shells came unpleasantly
near, shaking my rickety shelter in an alarming
The next day the weather continued vile and the
operations were indefinitely postponed. Therefore
there was nothing further to do but to return
St. Quentin, for the present, was to me a blank,
although I had continued for some time preparing
all the scenes leading up to its capture.
The weathcr was changing, the ground was
drying. Our line, just north of the town, was being
pushed further forward. Holon-Selency, Francilly-
Selency, Fayet and Villerete had fallen to our
victorious troops, but the main attack was not
To obtain scenes of out men actually in the front
line trenches facing the town, I ruade my way
through Savy and Savy Wood, in which hot a single
tree was left standing by the Bosche. Through the
wood I carefully worked forward by keeping well
under cover of a slight rise in the ground. I met
a battalion commander on the way who kindly
directed me to the best path to take.
" But be careful and keep your head down. Hun
snipers are very active and he is putting shrapnel
over pretty frequently. Although it doesn't hurt us
--it evidently amuses him," he said, with a stalle.
" There is one section where you will have to run the
gauntlet--for you are in full view of the lines. Keep
down as low as possible."
I thanked the C.O. and went ahead. The weather
was now perfect--a cloudless blue sky flecked here
BEFORE ST. QUENTIN 3Ol
and there by the furry white halls of our bursting
shrapnel around Hun aeroplanes, keeping them well
above observation range.
I noticed a flight of our men winging their way
over enemy lines. I could hear the rapid tire of the
Bosche anti-aircraft guns, and see their black halls
of shrapnel burst. But our birdmen went on their
way without a moment's hesitation. I recalled the
time when I was up among the clouds, filming the
Bosche lines thirteen thousand feet above mother
Suddenly a sharp crack, crack and whir of a
machine-gun rang out. & fight was oing on up
there; our anti-aircraft guns ceased, being afraid
of hitting our own men, but the Bosche still
It was impossible to see the progress of the fight ;
the whole flock was now directly overhead. VTatching
the " strafe " with such keen interest, this point
quite escaped me until pieces of shrapnel began fo
fall around in alarming proportions, causng me fo
beat a hasty retreat out of range, though I still hung
about in the hope of a Bosche machine being
brought down, thereby providing me with a thrilling
scene. But it did not happen. The airmen dis-
appeared in a southerly direction, sill fighing until
the sharp cracks of the guns droned away in the
In a few minutes I came in full view of one of our
strong points in the shape of a disused quarry.
Around the inner lip our Tommies had made a
series of funk-holes, which looked quite picturesque
in the bright sunlight.
Machine-gun parties were there ready for anything
that might turn up; in the far corner a group of
Frenchmen were chattering volubly to a knot of
This certainly was a most interesting scene--the
302 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
point of "liaison" between the two great armies,
France and Britain. I noticed by ffesh shell-holes
that Bosche had a rather bad habit of annoying the
place with his pip-squeaks, but generally they only
resulted in scoring a Blighty for more or one of the
occupants--and, for others, they were a source of
amusement in the shape of gambling on the spot the
next one would fall.
I fihned various sections here, then, having par-
taken of a little tea, I wended my way to the
tronches. I kept low, as the tower of the Cathedral
was in full view. I had previously covered the
aluminium head of my tripod with a sandbag to
prevent it glistening in the sun. As I drew nearer
o the trench, which I could now see quite distinctly,
more and more of St. Quentin came into view. Such
a picture gives one rather a queerish feeling. If a
keen-eyed Hun observer spotted me, with my load,
he would take me for a machine-gunner or some-
thing equally dangerous. But, fortunately, nothing
I drop]ed into the trench of the Worcesters
who were amazed and amused to see me there, as one
of them said"
" Well, sir, I always thought ail the War pictures
vere fakes, but now I know they're not.
" Will you take us, sir ? We expect to go over
to-night. Please do, sir; our people af home
will then in all probability see us. Don't suppose
I shall. I have an idea I shan't--but," he said,
p.ulling himself together, "I hope so, yer know,
I liked the man's spirit. It caused ail the others to
smile. I carefully fixed up my machine and filmed
them, holding out front line.
" How close is this to the town ? " I asked.
" About nine hundred yards, sir."
Whether or no± Bosche had seen movement I
BEFORE ST. QUENTIN 303
don't know, but suddenly a group of four 59 came
crashing over. Everybody ducked--wise plan, rather,
out herethey fell and burst about fifty yards
behind us. I awaited the next lot ; they came very
shortly and fell in almost the same place.
" Before he shortens the range," I thought, " l'll
more," and suiting the action to the word I moved
out towards the Bois de Savy and was half-way
there when another lot burst in my direction. This
rime I ruade for the Bois de Holnon, and fortunately
the shells ceased.
As I reached the furthest side of the Bois de Savy
several tear shells came whistling over and burst
just behind me. Needless to say I had fallen fiat,
and, as I arose, the sweet smell of tear gas made
itself evident. Not intending to risk a repetition
of my previous experience at Beaumont Hamel, I
closed my eyes and tan like--well, you couldn't see
me for dust.
Yard by yard we continued to press back the
enemy. For me the film story of the taking of St.
Quentin is an obsession. It holds me as a needle to
a magnet. And in this section, at the present, I
remain--waiting and watching.
My leave is fast running out, and I ara nearing the
end of my story. In all the pictures that if has been
my good fortune to take during the two and a half
years that I bave been kept at work on the great
European battlefield, I have always tried to re-
member that it was through the eye of the camera,
directed by my own sense of observation, that the
millions of people at home would gain their only
first-hand knowledge of what was happening at the
I bave tried fo make my pictures actual and
reliable, above al1 I bave striven to catch the atmo-
sphere of the battlefield, and whilst I have dwelt
as little as possible upon its horrors, I have aimed at
3o 4 HOW I FILMED THE WAR
showing the magnificent spirit which imbues our
fighting men, from the highest in command to the
humblest unit in the ranks.
I ara proud to think that the task of doing this
has been mine, and in doing it, I bave tried " to do
my bit " for the land that gave me birth.
Albert, King of the Belgians. 217
Alexander of Teck, Prince, 217
Andrew Paul. Mayor of Bierne, 289,
Anzacs, the. 211
Arras. 83. lO8. 293
Aubers Ridge. 114
Australians, the, 197, 198
Babin, M. Gustave, of L'Illust»'a-
Beaumont Hamel, 124, 129, 165,
2o8, 245. 265, 3o3
Bécourt ,Vood. 172, 176, 197
Belgians. Queen of. 217, 218
Bernafay Wood. 186, 188
Besançon, 42, 47
Bierne. 277. 284. 289
Bois de Holnon. 294, 303
Bois de Savy, 3oo, 3o 3
Boulogne, 2o5-7, 253, 254
Boule_aux XVood, 24o
Bovincourt, 270, 271,274, 275. 277,
Brie, 263. 267. 269. 272. 274. 276
Brooks, Lieut.. Official " Still "
Photographer, 259-65, 275
Burstall, General, 218
Canadians, the, 52-6o, 218
Carnoy Vailey, 184
Cavan. Earl of. 63, 76, 77
Clarendon Film Co., the, 5
Contalmaison, 199, 2Ol-2O3
Delville XVood, 238
Dinorah. S.S.. the. 48
Estrées, 259, 271, 276
Festubert. lO8, x14
Foch. Gen., 215
Fricourt, 171, 208, 209. 2I 2
Fumes, 6, 8, 13, 15. 21, 29. 30, 38
Gaumont Co., the, 5
his approval of Somme film, 177
arrival af Boulogne, 206, 2o 7
attends Divine Serviceæ 217
on Battlefield of Fricourt, 208-
being filmed, 216
his departure from France, 22o,
greets Sir H. 1Rawlinson. 208
af hospitals. 212
inspects Canadians, 218
HOW I FILMED THE WAR
meets M. Poincaré and Gen.
Joflre, 215, 216
and puppy, 212, 213
visits King of the Belgians. 21
George. David Lloyd, Prime Min-
ister, 177, 216, 217
Goumiers, the (Algerian Arabs),
Guards' Division. the, 61, 63. 65-71.
Guillemont, 135, 234, -36, 238
Gully Ravine, 136
Haig( Field-Marshal Sir Douglas.
2o7. 208. 214-I6
Hawthorn Reboubt. the, 41, 159
Hill 63. 56-58
Hindenburg. General, 293
" llindenburg Line." the, 259, 292,
tfohenzollern Redoubt, the, lO8
.|offre, General. 214-216
Josephine. Princess. 218
Jury, Mr. Will, 176
Keppel, Sir Derek, 2o 7
Kinematograph Trade Topical
Committee. the. 51
" King George's Hill." 209
Kitchener, Earl of, 206
La Bassée. 65, 72, 114, I 15
La Boisselle. 17
La Maisonnette, Château of, 255
Lancashire Fusiliers, the. 12 7, 152,
Lancers, ITth. the, 2I 4
Les Boeufs, 234, 239, 245
London Scottish, the. I22, 234
Loos, 1o4, Io8. 114
Lueze Wcod, 238
Malins, Lieut. Geof6rey H..
appointed Official War Office
arrested in Switzerland. 41
af Battle of St. Eloi. 85-92
on battlefield of Neuve Chapelle,
with Belgian Army, 6-13. 3o-39
in bombardment of Furnes, 31
with Canadians, 52-6o
his description of preparation of
experiences in aeroplane, lO7-I 20
films Battle of the Somme, 121-
with Goumiers, near Nieuport,
with Guards' Division. 65-71
his lire be/ore the War.
narrow escapes of. 93-Io6, 142-
at Pozières and Contalmaison,
and Prince of Wales. 77, 2o7, 212
at Ramscapelle, 32-34
reported dead. 38
spends Christmas af the Front,
and Tanks, 222
on tracks of retreating Huns. z 54-
in Trones Wood. 183-195
views battle o! sand-dunes. 22-9
visits ruins of Guillemont and
Mouquet Farm. 234-25o
on Vosges Mountains. 4o-48
on Western Front with the King,
at Ypres and Arras. 8e-84
Martinpuich, battle of. 234
Messines. 52. 54. 113
Middlesex Regt., the, 152
Morts en Chaussée. 269,
Morval, 234. 239, 245
Mouquet Farm. 24, 247, 248
Neuve Chapelle. 72, 73, lO8, t 14
Nieuport. I5. 3I
Nieupcrt Bain, 22, 23
Norfolks, the, 234
North Staffordshire Regt., the, 206
Northumberland Fusiliers, the, 218
Oost-Dunkerq ue, 22
Ostend, i 11
Petite Douve, 56, 58, 60
Ploegsteert, lO8, 114
Ploegsteert \Vood, 53, 56
Poincar6, President, 214-216
Pouilly, 279, 294
Pozières. 197, 198, 2Ol-2O3, 211,
Ramscapelle, 6, 12. 31-33
Rawlinson, General Sir H. S., 136,
Richebourg St. Vaast. 55
Royal Engineers, West Riding
Field Co.. 136
Royal Fusiliers. the, 136, 137, 152
Royal Welsh Fusiliers, the. 65
St. Di6, 40, 42, 43, 47
St. Eloi, lO8, 113
St. Eloi. ]attle of. 89-92, 218
St. Quentin, 259, 267, 293,294, 296-
Somme, River. 255, 263 , 265-267 ,
Somme t3attle, film of, 176-178,
Stamfordham, Lord, 2o7
Suffçlks, the, 234
Tanks, the, 225, 229-233. 237, 240
Tardeau, M. EugC.ne, of Echo de
Thompson, Major. 207
Tong, MI., 51 . 52.64
Trones Wood, 184, 186, 19o, 192,
Uhlans, the, 32
Villers-Carbonel. 259-266, 276
Vimy Ridge, 293
Vosges, the. 4o, 47. 5 I
Vraignes, 270, 275, 277, 281
Wales, Edward. Prince of---
his anxiety to avoid camera, 77,
attends service on Christmas Day,
cheered by Tommies. 211
and General Foch, 216
in German trench, 2io, 21i
inspects gun-pits, 77
meets King George at t3oulogne,
takes leave of King George, 220
Wigram, Lieut.-Col. Clive, 207, 216,
Ypres. 55, 75, 80-83, 111, 112, 253